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Jo McCarron is surveying hundreds of local businesses to find out about the barriers they face in paying people a wage that covers the cost of living. She also wants to hear from businesses who already pay the living wage of £7.65 per hour to hear about the benefits it brings to their business.

This comes after TUC figures identified Kingswood as the top black spot for low pay in the UK, with 48% of people being paid below the living wage.

Jo, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, said that although it was a surprise to learn that Kingswood was the worst hit in the whole of the UK, it was in line with her own findings on the doorstep that people across the constituency are feeling the squeeze on their wages and household budgets.

She said:

"Over the last few months we've spoken to thousands of people across the constituency about the issues that matter to them. Over 80% say they are seriously concerned about the rising cost of living. It isn’t just those who can’t find work who are struggling, but nor is it just those on low pay – virtually everyone is feeling the growing pressure as month after month prices continue to rise faster than wages. It’s crucial that we find ways to ease that pressure, and part of that has to be improving people’s pay and tackling low wages.

“It is great news for people in Kingswood that Labour has pledged to offer a National Insurance break for a year to those who pay the living wage - this is a fantastic incentive. I am also proud that our local Labour councillors took the initiative to ensure the Living Wage was secured to all those working for the council, and on Monday we got agreement that the Council will look at extending the living wage to businesses with Council contracts.

“The vast majority of people in Kingswood have a good work ethic. But it is profoundly unfair that people who are just trying to do the right thing by taking work when they can, end up in jobs that don't cover the costs of rising bills. This is just not good enough – people in Kingswood deserve a better deal for their hard work.”

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, joined the Labour team in Kingswood yesterday out surveying local residents in Woodstock about their concerns. After the campaign session she said:

“It’s absolutely clear talking to local residents that what really matters is the daily pressure they are facing as costs continue to rise, squeezing wages month after month. Wherever I am in the country I meet people who work around the clock but struggle to cover the basics. Our focus as a Party is finding practical ways at every level to ease this pressure. I really welcome the work Jo is doing locally to tackle low pay and I’m proud of the clear steps a Labour Government will take in 2015 to strengthen the minimum wage.”

“People in Kingswood deserve better” – Jo McCarron takes action following TUC report that names Kingswood as top of UK living wage ‘blackspots’

Jo McCarron is surveying hundreds of local businesses to find out about the barriers they face in paying people a wage that covers the cost of living. She also wants...

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Jo McCarron expressed her disappointment that an application has been accepted to turn the empty post office on Heath Rise, Cadbury Heath into a store selling alcohol from 6am to 11pm. 

Jo teamed up with local residents to make sure their concerns were heard by the South Gloucestershire Licensing Committee, responsible for making the decision. At the Committee meeting on Tuesday (8th), Jo handed in dozens of letters from residents she and the Labour team had spoken to about the plans. The letters explained concerns that there is already a problem in the local area with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, and already a high density of premises selling alcohol locally. The fear raised by the residents is that increasing access to alcohol will only make the problem worse.

The Licensing Committee said they were sympathetic to arguments from the residents but in the absence of police representation about the existing anti-social behaviour issues raised by the residents, their hands were tied.

Local Labour Parish Councillor Martin Farmer, who has been working with Jo and the residents, has written to the Parish Council suggesting that it pursues an appeal and asks for the police to assess the drink-related problems in the area.

This application at the old post office follows attempts to allow the next-door kebab shop to open until 1am at weekends and midnight on weekdays. The Labour team worked with residents at the time to petition the Licensing Committee and successfully blocked those plans in February.

After the meeting today, Jo McCarron said:

“It’s frustrating that despite local residents’ concerns, the Committee was unable to fully take on board the reports of anti-social behaviour. It cannot be right that such a strength of local feeling is being seemingly ignored. I will continue to work with local residents to make sure their views are heard as this issue progresses.”

Jo McCarron disappointed that empty post office on Heath Rise looks set to become an off-license open from 6am

Jo McCarron expressed her disappointment that an application has been accepted to turn the empty post office on Heath Rise, Cadbury Heath into a store selling alcohol from 6am to...

Responding to new research from the TUC that shows Kingswood constituency as having the highest proportion of working people being paid below the living wage, Jo McCarron said...

“Whatever claims this Government makes about its ‘economic recovery’, the reality for the vast majority of people is the growing pressure on household budgets they feel on a daily basis.

“These figures show just how much pressure people in Kingswood are feeling – nearly half of people working across Kingswood are earning less than the wage they need just to cover the basics and no constituency in the country has a higher proportion of working people being paid below the living wage.. The truth is very few people living here are not feeling the squeeze.

“The average working person is more than £1600 a year worse off since this Government came to power, as month after month the cost of essentials like food, fuel and childcare has gone up faster than wages. We’ve spoken to thousands of local residents over the last few months and over 80% have told us they are seriously concerned about the rising cost of living. Labour’s focus is on helping to ease this pressure by putting forward the kind of straightforward, practical measures people need, like the freeze on energy bills, 10 extra hours of free childcare each week and a tax cut for millions of low and middle income earners by reintroducing the 10p tax rate.

“Hundreds of local residents have signed up to join the call for the Government to act now and implement these measures and it’s time the sitting Tory MP sat up and paid attention to what is going on his patch. Yes, he’s organised a few jobs fairs, but what about all the people in his constituency who are in  work but are still struggling? This report shows that people across this constituency need more from those who are meant to represent them.”

Jo McCarron responds to research showing that Kingswood has the highest proportion of working people paid below the living wage

Responding to new research from the TUC that shows Kingswood constituency as having the highest proportion of working people being paid below the living wage, Jo McCarron said...

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