A fair deal for workers and business in Scarborough and Whitby
This constituency is Britain’s low-pay capital. Wages here average under £20,000 a year – around £8,500 less than the national average. And more than half of local workers are paid less than that average figure.
The local crisis of low wages, insecure employment and limited prospects is made worse by our coastal location and poor transport links. Labour’s plans will help thousands of local people achieve a fair deal on pay and conditions. What’s more, Labour’s Green New Deal will deliver good, secure jobs to Scarborough and Whitby, as well as new opportunities for training.
Work should provide a decent living, dignity and respect in the workplace, and the income and leisure time for a fulfilling life away from work.
Under the Tories, pay has stagnated while insecurity and inequality are rising. Last year, the richest in this country saw their incomes grow by nearly 5%, while incomes of the poorest declined.
Work no longer guarantees a way out of poverty. Of 14.3 million people in poverty, nine million live in families where at least one adult works. Real wages are still lower than before the financial crisis, while dividends paid to shareholders are up 85%. Labour will eradicate in-work poverty in our first term by tackling the structural causes of poverty and inequality, such as low pay and high living costs, while raising the floor provided by our social safety net.
- A Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers. Around a third of workers in Yorkshire are currently paid less than that – half a million in the region stand to benefit.
- Many workers are self-employed. This can bring freedom and autonomy, but also insecurity. A tranche of Labour policies will help self-employed people: free childcare, free full-fibre broadband, lending through our Post Bank, income protection insurance schemes and better access to mortgages and pension schemes. We will tackle late payments that leave small businesses and the self-employed waiting months to be paid, and ban late-payers from public procurement.
- Labour will end bogus self-employment and create a single status of ‘worker’ for everyone except the genuinely self-employed. This means that employers cannot evade workers’ rights. We will also ban overseas-only recruitment practices.
- A ban on zero-hour contracts and strengthening the law so that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract.
- Workers in the UK put in some of the longest hours in Europe. Labour will tackle excessive working hours. Within a decade we will reduce average full-time weekly working hours to 32 across the economy, with no loss of pay, funded by productivity increases.
- Social justice includes levelling the playing field between small and big business. Small businesses are the heartbeat of the local economy in Scarborough and Whitby. But the upper echelons of corporate Britain have been corrupted by a short-term culture that sees treasured companies asset-stripped, leaving workers, small business suppliers and pensioners in the lurch. Too often, the link between reward and long-term performance is broken for short-term greed.
For more information about Labour’s plans for work and business – read our manifesto online.
Putting principles into practice: Hugo as a business owner
“I will never employ people on zero hours contracts and I have committed to paying the Real Living Wage to all my employees and sub-contractors. Far from destroying jobs, this move has improved morale and has shown me that success in business does not have to be underpinned by low-wage employment.
“My business is also committed to supporting working mothers and we have taken the step of donating a portion of our profits to Pregnant Then Screwed, a campaigning, advice and advocacy organisation. I firmly believe that having children should not preclude you from also having a fulfilling career. I have begun to implement the Labour manifesto in my own business and as MP would encourage other local businesses to do the same.
“I’m right behind businesses who want to play by the rules, who want to get on by treating their staff properly, by paying their suppliers on time, and by taking a responsible attitude to the environment.”
Small businesses punch above their weight in the local economy. They are especially important in Scarborough and Whitby’s rural areas. While few employ more than a few people, together they are very significant. They are also important in what they feed into communities – in the employment and local services they offer, and as pools of expertise, creativity and potential.