Proposals by Labour to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour have been welcomed in Blackpool.
In a speech to the TUC conference, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also pledged to improve workers’ rights to sick pay.
He told the congress: “Labour would immediately increase the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour.
“For a carer on the minimum wage that’s an immediate pay rise of £2,500 a year.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir added: “A job you can raise a family on must offer a solid foundation on which you can build your life, not worrying about how many hours you’ll be given the next week or how you’ll pay the bills if you fall ill.
“Labour’s new deal will provide that security by ensuring basic rights for all workers from day one in the job: including holiday pay; protection from unfair dismissal; and guaranteed sick pay.
“We have one of the lowest rates of sick pay in Europe. That’s not good enough, so as well as guaranteeing sick pay Labour’s new deal will increase it as well.”
Ken Cridland, secretary of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Trades Union Council, said the move would help many families on the Fylde coast.
He said: “Blackpool in particular is a low paid area with many working people here on the minimum wage, struggling financially.
“The Government’s present plans to remove the £20 from the universal credit support, which many are on because of their low pay, will hit hard.
“So, a rise in the minimum wage to £10 an hour would really help low paid workers, and help reduce the need for benefit support.
“However, many of these workers are effectively working in the public sector, even if it has been outsourced or privatised.
“Therefore it would also be essential for government to ensure that budgets (e.g. for social care) are robust enough to pay the £10.
“The issue of the UK having one of the lowest sick pay rates in Europe is also a key one and it affects all of us.
“For instance, many believe that it has been one of the drivers in the spread of Covid in poorer areas, as workers could not afford to isolate and so carried on trying to work while ill, spreading the virus.
“Therefore both suggestions at the TUC Conference are very welcome, and we believe would make a really big difference to local people’s lives if the Government took them up.”