A blooming good business pays the Living Wage

Labour councillors Tony Belton and Kate Stock visit Battersea Flower Station

Battersea Flower Station is perfectly described on their website as a ‘beautiful and magic place in the heart of Wandsworth’.

Visiting Battersea Flower Station is like taking a trip to a true ‘secret garden’, full of plants, flowers, shrubs and pots, with a quaint tin shed gift shop.

John is the founder of this independent local business, which opened six years ago.  John share some local history with us: the site is where the horses from Battersea Park were kept, and before that where the barrows from the market on Battersea High Street were stored, and before that, a long time ago, there was a flower shop at the Battersea Park Road entrance.

All the team at Battersea Flower Station are paid at least Living Wage.  This is really important to John in keeping the team valued and cherished.  Retail is a tough world right now, and there is so much online competition for plants and flowers. None of the big-name supermarkets or online florists are accredited as Living Wage employers.

Battersea Flower Station is a very special place in our community and we’d encourage people to support it.  Christmas trees will be available from December 1st and you can book a flower delivery across South London six days a week.

Thank you, Battersea Flower Station, for being blooming marvellous and we wish you every success.

The Living Wage makes sense to this financial expert

Councillor Jo Rigby at the Pentecostal Credit Union
Councillor Jo Rigby at the Pentecostal Credit Union

This week we are celebrating local businesses who have become accredited Living Wage Employers.

We spoke to Shane Bowes, the CEO of the Pentecostal Credit Union, based in Balham. The Pentecostal Credit Union was set up almost 40 years ago, and has a customer base across the UK.

We asked Shane about what led him to becoming Living Wage accredited.  The catalyst was hiring an apprentice, Lauren, and Shane’s unease about the apprenticeship guideline salary.

“You just can’t live on that kind of salary in the capital, it didn’t seem right and through some research I found out about the Living Wage. It’s calculated on the actual cost of living, and when the cost of living rises, so does the Living Wage.  This seemed to me to be a fairer guideline.” We were pleased to hear that following the apprenticeship, Lauren stayed on and has been there for over seven years.

We were interested in Shane’s point of view as a financial expert, and what his advice is to other businesses considering becoming Living Wage accredited. “I’d advise that businesses consider all the angles first, and do some long-term planning. What may seem to be an initial cost, can actually be a saving over time through high retention. It’s also a way of being more successful as your team are more committed to the goals that you have.”

The Pentecostal Credit Union sits alongside several blue-chip financial organisations who are also accredited Living Wage Employers, such as Aviva and Nationwide,

We want to thank the Pentecostal Credit Union for being a pioneer in Living Wage, this is not just about being a good employer, it is about good business sense.  We encourage other business and not-for-profit organisations to visit www.livingwagefoundation.com to learn more about becoming accredited and explore the benefits that you might be missing out on.

Living Wage week: A craft beer with a conscience

Charlie and Sam meet Labour councillor Jo Rigby to discuss the Living Wage
Charlie and Sam meet Labour councillor Jo Rigby to discuss the Living Wage

During Living Wage Week, we are celebrating local businesses who have become accredited Living Wage Employers.

We visited Gipsy Hill Brewery, set up by Charlie and Sam in 2014, with an early commitment to paying Living Wage. The Gipsy Hill Brewery team spotted the global trend towards craft beers early on, and have established themselves nationally, with a large fan base in South London.

Their business is also taking off over in Europe with distribution in Spain and Italy.  The brewery has a Tap Room right next door, with the finished barrels taking a short roll across the yard before being served at the bar.

We asked Charlie and Sam why it was important, as a fledgling business, that they became accredited as a Living Wage Employer. For them, it’s all about the team, and building a culture where all members feel that they are equally valued.

Sam spoke of his concerns about how our society is negatively impacted by increasing levels of inequality, and he sees the Living Wage as just one step to address this. They firmly believe that by being a Living Wage Employer, they have been able to retain a quality team, reducing the costs that come with a high staff turnover.  So far, they’ve not had anyone leave the brewing team!

Sam puts it simply, “If you feel valued, and are paid as if you’re valued, then you’re more likely to outperform over time. Pay people poorly and your staff turnover will be high with your team less likely to be invested in your success.”

Charlie told us about the things they do to create social inclusivity.  The Tap Room is fully accessible, and the tables have been set at wheelchair height.  This is an area that they would do much more in if business grants were available.

Research from the Living Wage Foundation shows that 86% of accredited employers agree that it has improved the reputation of their business.  With so many craft beers out there, customers can feel good about choosing a brand that cares about its carbon footprint, and about the people who brew and bottle their favourite after-work tipple.

Sam and Charlie, we’d like to say ‘cheers’ for becoming Living Wage accredited, you deserve every success as a business.

For more information about becoming a Living Wage Employer and to find out if the brands you choose pay Living Wage, visit www.livingwagefoundation.com.

Living Wage week: A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay

Wandsworth Labour councillors supporting the Living Wage

Today is the start of Living Wage Week: a week of events to celebrate the 4,700 UK businesses and social enterprises who believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

The real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by thousands of start-ups, small to medium businesses, right up to global brands such as IKEA and Unilever.

The Living Wage is reviewed annually, and as the cost of living rises, so does the Living Wage. Each year, the Mayor of London announces the new Living Wage rate for London, as set by The Living Wage Foundation.  This morning Sadiq Khan announced that the rate was rising from £10.20 to £10.55 to cover the cost of living.

Paying the Living Wage is good news for society as it enables workers to do more than simply exist on minimum wage or zero hours contracts, it creates opportunity to start saving and building a future for themselves and their families.

Wandsworth Labour’s policy is to pay every council worker – whether on staff or on a contract – at least the London Living Wage.

There are so many families struggling in Wandsworth and the use of food banks is growing daily for people who are working.  We believe that one measure to lift people out of poverty is to be paid a Living Wage, and that includes workers under 25, who face the same challenges as workers over 25 in making ends meet.

The National Living Wage, set by the government, is based on a target to meet 60% of median wages by 2020. By 2020 this will be less than £9 per hour, which will keep people on or below the breadline.

The Living Wage brings real benefits to employers, 93% agree that their business has benefited since becoming accredited. One of the key benefits is that it drives down recruitment costs as employees feel more valued, 75% say that it has increased motivation and retention rates for employees.

Becoming Living Wage accredited means that you can use the Living Wage logo as you market your brand. Research shows that consumers feel better about buying products and services from brands that set out to do good in society.

Becoming accredited is a journey, with the first step being to assess any potential cost and savings for your business. It makes good business sense to know if your competitors are Living Wage accredited, it may be possible to take first mover advantage. The Living Wage Foundation is clear that this isn’t something that every business can do immediately. What we are asking for this week, is for employers to build their knowledge about Living Wage and consider the benefits that come with being accredited.

We encourage all businesses to visit https://www.livingwage.org.uk to get to know the facts and read the case studies about accredited businesses.  And we encourage people to visit https://www.livingwage.org.uk/accredited-living-wage-employers to check out who pays it so that you can consider supporting their business.

This week, Wandsworth Labour councillors will be celebrating the great local businesses that are already paying the Living Wage to their staff.

We want to thank every single one of the 4,700 employers around the country who have become accredited Living Wage employers. Every one of you has made a positive contribution to the lives of millions of workers and their families.

Volunteer to help us win Wandsworth

Thursday, 3rd May is election day. Help us make history by winning Wandsworth for the first time in 40 years.

Battersea, Putney and Tooting are the three constituencies in Wandsworth borough. Please pick the campaign HQ that is most convenient for you to get to:

Battersea

Campaign centres open from 7am until 10pm

  • Flat 3, 6 Battersea Square (SW11 3RA)
  • Flat C Lucas Court, Strasburg Road (SW11 5JF)
  • 177 Lavender Hill (SW11 5TE) Contact: Carmel on 07752 708722

Putney

  • Putney Labour Party 35 Felsham Road (SW15 1AY)
    8am to 10pm
    0208 788 8961
  • The Vicarage 146a Lavenham Road (SW18  5EP)
    10am to 10pm
  • 106 Standen Road (SW18 5TG)
    10am to 10pm

Tooting

Campaign centres open at from 7am until 10pm

  • Balham: 16 Elmfield Road (SW17 8AL)
  • Earlsfield: 25 Littleton Street (SW18 3SZ)

5,218 emergency food parcels given out by Wandsworth Foodbank last year, up 11%

According to figures released today by Wandsworth Foodbank, foodbank use in Wandsworth grew last year by 11%. Over the past 12 months, 5,218 three day emergency food parcels were provided to local people in crisis by Wandsworth Foodbank, compared to 4,712 the previous year. Of this number, 1,897 food parcels went to children.

According to Wandsworth Foodbank, the local increase is “due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments, including the impact of the recent roll-out of Universal Credit; insecure and low-paid work; and the difficulty in accessing local government support when financial crisis relates to benefit problems”.

Commenting on the figures, Cllr Simon Hogg, Leader of Wandsworth Labour, said: “Wandsworth Foodbank volunteers do an amazing job. But it’s very sad that we need Foodbanks at all in our community.

“The botched roll-out of universal credit is forcing some of our most vulnerable residents into hunger. Instead of providing support, Wandsworth’s Conservative council is making it harder for people to access emergency payments.

“A Wandsworth Labour council will bring new values, based on fairness and common sense.”

Last year a quarter of those reliant on foodbanks in Wandsworth were children, this year that figure has grown to 36%.

In response to the findings, Wandsworth Foodbank, with Citizens Advice Wandsworth, South West London Law Centres and the Katherine Low Settlement, is calling for Wandsworth Council to deliver high-quality, ongoing support for people claiming Universal Credit locally. The four charities have launched an online petition and are encouraging local people to sign it to show their support.

Ambitious for Children, Schools and Families

The local elections on Thursday May 3rd will give us all a say in the future of Education and Children’s Services in Wandsworth.

Come and hear Jeremy Ambache outline the Labour Party’s ambitious plans for children, schools and families in Wandsworth.

Wandsworth Education Question Time is on Wednesday, April 25 at Balham Baptist Church, 21 Ramsden Road, Balham, London SW12 8QX from 7pm to 9pm – just 5 minutes walk from Balham station. Everyone is welcome.

Services for vulnerable children have been badly neglected under the Tory Council in Wandsworth. When Ofsted inspected them recently, it rated them as Inadequate. The Council has spent £14 million trying to put right these failings. So what difference will a Labour Council make for local children and families?

A Labour Council will campaign to defend local schools from disastrous budget cuts which are causing bigger classes, fewer teachers and a squeeze on resources. Wandsworth schools face cuts of £7 million by 2020.

School funding is controlled by national government but a Labour Council will stand alongside schools and parents in opposing cuts. The current Tory Councillors won’t do this because they support the Tory government’s approach. A Labour council will be on the side of children and families.

Labour wants children’s services in Wandsworth to compare favourably with the best in London – efficient, with great results and properly resourced. Residents deserve that. That means recruiting the very best staff as teachers, headteachers and social workers.  And it means reversing the high turnover of staff caused by neglect of services.  We want Wandsworth to be the employer of first choice for those committed to vital public services.

Wandsworth is fortunate to have many outstanding schools.  They are led by inspirational headteachers and staffed with dedicated professionals. A Labour Council will always focus on academic success for our children. But we can do more. We want a broad curriculum, including cultural education, fitness and sport; as well as the personal and practical skills which are essential for adult life.

Young children are the future of our communities. Sure Start began as a simple, effective way to bring together services for young families (e.g. health, childcare and early learning) within a single programme. Labour will renew the Council’s commitment to Sure Start to give our youngest children the very best start in life.

Young people are our citizens of tomorrow. They achieve highly in our secondary schools. But opportunities for young people in the wider community (including music, sport, performing arts and volunteering) are patchy and uncoordinated. A Labour Council will work closely with young people to put this right. We want to see a proper youth strategy that’s as exciting and imaginative as our teenagers are.

Children’s physical and mental health is a high priority in a city environment. Growing up healthy is often the basis for other successes. Working with parents, schools and local businesses there is much that we can do to give all our children a healthy start. In particular, a Labour Council will prioritise healthy eating, clean air zones, exercise and fitness, and emotional health.

Finally, a Labour Council will reverse the Tory neglect of services for vulnerable children which led inspectors to call them Inadequate. We will prioritise improvement plans and ensure that Children’s Services are rated Good (or even better) under a Labour Council.

Read Wandsworth Labour’s manifesto

Join our campaign to win Wandsworth

election night GE 2017

Wandsworth Labour volunteers are out every day listening to local people.

Our next campaign sessions are:

 

Wednesday, 11 April

11am Meet Balham Station

6pm Battersea Phone Bank
Meet 177 Lavender Hill, SW11 5TE

6pm West Hill ward
Meet Southfields station

6:30pm Queenstown ward
Meet Queenstown Road Station

6:30pm Nightingale ward
Meet Balham station

6:30pm Southfields ward
Meet The Pig and Whistle, 481 Merton Road

Putney Labour Party also have phone canvassing and office duties Monday to Thursday, 12 noon till 5pm at 35 Felsham Rd.

 

2,300 jobs in Wandsworth at risk from a hard Brexit

Figures published by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, reveal the full impact that a ‘no deal’ hard Brexit would have on the borough of Wandsworth, with 2,300 jobs potentially under threat. Continue reading “2,300 jobs in Wandsworth at risk from a hard Brexit”

Sadiq Khan: vote Labour on May 3 to get a council that’s ambitious for everyone

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As a Mayor for all Londoners, I’ve got big plans to improve life in our city. We need more Labour councillors elected in Wandsworth on 3 May to help me deliver these plans.

I’ve lived in Wandsworth all my life. I was born in St George’s Hospital and grew up on the Henry Prince Estate in Earlsfield. Before becoming Tooting’s MP, I was a Labour councillor for 12 years. I know Labour’s team personally, and support Simon Hogg – who will make an excellent Leader.

Four more years of Conservative domination in our Town Hall would do so much damage to our community. Wandsworth’s Conservative council has been in power for 40 years. It’s just too long. Wandsworth Tory Councillors have stopped listening:

  • They put the interests of property developers ahead of the interests of local people. I was furious that they allowed the developers of Battersea Power Station to cut 250 affordable homes
  • They let down vulnerable children. Failures in child protection led to a terrible Ofsted report for the council. Wandsworth’s Tory council had to spent £14 million of public money to cover these mistakes
  • They can’t keep the streets clean. Fly-tipping incidents have trebled in the last three years. The council’s record on recycling is among the worst in London

A Labour council in Wandsworth will:

  • build the genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent local residents need
  • freeze your council tax this year – and next year
  • help clean up London’s toxic air
  • keep our streets safe with the front-line police officers we need

Like me, many local people are concerned about the impact of Brexit on our community. We can use the vote on May 3 to send the Tory Government a message that we don’t want their chaotic and extreme approach to Brexit.

We need a Labour council that works for all our community in Wandsworth. Vote Labour in the local elections on May 3 to get a listening council that’s ambitious for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Yours sincerely,

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Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London

PS You can register to vote – and sign up for a postal vote – on this Government website