David Miliband. Photo: Bill Smith

David Miliband calls on county to bring in “living wage”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
6.30 AM

Labour heavyweight David Miliband has called on Norfolk County Council to follow the example of Norwich City Council and pursue the introduction of a “living wage”.

The national minimum wage is £6.19, but some employers are choosing to pay a living wage of £7.45. The idea is backed by the Labour party, but also by the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Mr Miliband, in Norwich today to visit the University of East Anglia, praised Norwich City Council for last month vowing to work with local business to ensure people received a living wage.

However, he said that the Conservative group at County Hall should also consider the move for the benefit of workers in Norfolk.

He said: “It’s a good thing for me to call for the county to do. What they should be doing, if they had any sense, would be to say to the government ‘we are going to save you money on tax credits [by increasing people’s wages] and we want a share of the proceeds.

“That would be an innovative thing to do.”

Mr Miliband will also highlight the scourge of youth unemployment during his trip. He accused the government of employing a “pea shooter” to try and kill what he called was a “monster” of a problem.

Meanwhile Mr Miliband will also be seeing the Labour parliamentary candidates standing in the city: Jess Asato in Norwich North and Clive Lewis in Norwich South.

He admitted that the city was crucial for the Labour Party’s attempts to win back power at the next election in 2015.

“When you get wiped out across the south as we more or less did, it’s inevitable that the Labour spokespeople that you see on the TV aren’t from southern constituencies and we’ve got to make up for that with our game on the ground,” he said.

“The most important thing is that there are no ‘no go areas’ for Labour. We know we took a beating but we are determined to come back fighting for people and listening to people.

“We want a brand of community politics based on how people are living their lives and how we can help them. Jess and Clive are well placed to take forward that message.”