By Charlie Mower / Jobs / / 0 Comments

Over the last eight years, our communities have been destroyed by austerity. We have seen the closure of libraries, of youth centres and of other community spaces. Indeed, it has also led to the reduction of our independent businesses as a result of high business rates and consumers with less money to spend in their pockets. This is why a Labour local authority would prioritise communities and support Community Interest Companies (CICs) across the district.

Community Interest Companies are social enterprises which uses their profits for a public good. A perfect example of this is the Umbrella Cafe in Whitstable, a community cafe that works with Canterbury College to support young people in gaining the skills necessary for employment. It also provides a space for the Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project to give support to parents. Lily’s Bistro, on Palace Street in Canterbury, is also a similar example. The family-owned Bistro offers work experience to homeless people, people with mental health issues and people with disabilities. That notwithstanding, it also uses ingredients which are thrown out by supermarkets because of their sell by dates, but that are still within their best before dates. These two CICs’ act in the interest of the wider community –  something which should so obviously be supported by the local authority.

The social benefit of organisations like this are revitalising our communities in the face of the harshest cuts to local amenities. This is why a Labour council will bring about the necessary measures to support these important local businesses. As it becomes more and more common for independent businesses to shut their doors only to replaced by big businesses, like supermarkets and betting shops, it is clear that this has opened the necessity for businesses which are greater tied to the local communities they are situated in; businesses that recognise the needs in communities and work towards bringing about some social good. A Canterbury City Council led by the Labour Party will be consistent in its support for these important local businesses.

By Canterbury Labour Party / JobsServices / 0 Comments

The Living Wage campaign is an independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Employers choosing to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis get access to a ethical benchmark for responsible pay, but for council’s it is also a way of ensuring their own staff and contractors in the local economy receive a basic wage, tackling poverty from the bottom up.

Many people in our community find that even though they are working full time on the government’s national living wage of £8.21 an hour they are still struggling to make ends meet. 1 in 5 employees (22%) in the UK earn below the Living Wage. That’s nearly a quarter of the UK workforce and nearly a 1/3 (26%) of working women in the UK. Two thirds of children in poverty have a parent in work.

The real Living Wage is independently calculated every year based on what employees and their families need to get by, including what people need for a decent standard of living and to participate fully in society. This includes things like housing, transport to work and heating, but also enough for a small birthday celebration or a trip to the cinema.

Paying the real Living Wage rate of £9 per hour (£10.55 in London) can mean the difference between employees just about managing and having the funds to deal with those unexpected costs and little extras and can change people’s lives, putting money back into the pockets of the lowest paid workers.

Not only that, but the real Living Wage is good for business. In a 2016 survey of accredited Living Wage employers by Cardiff Business School, 93% employers reported they had benefited from accreditation, 86% reported an enhanced reputation as an employer, 76% of large organisations reported improved recruitment and retention and 78% of large employers reported an increase staff motivation.

Labour committed the council to paying its staff the real living wage in 2010 but we want it to go further an become an Accreditted Real Living Wage council, committing itself to also pay its contractors the same.

The Living Wage campaign enjoys cross-party political support. Councils and Local Authorities across the country from Aberdeen to York have already accredited as Living Wage employers, joining a growing movement of over 5000 businesses and organisations across the UK who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

By Val Kenny / JobsLatest News / / 0 Comments

The temporary one way system in Whitstable has caused real difficulty for local shops these past three weeks. Isn’t it time the council considered how we could use our car parks to support local business better?

At one point last week, drivers venturing into Whitstable would have found themselves turned away from Middle Wall Car Park, Cromwell Road, Cornwallis Circle and struggling to park centrally as the capacity of Gladstone Road car park has been halved. The temporary one way system caused by the closure of Sea Street and the development of the Oval may be coping, but local trade on our high street has drop substantially and confused many residents who rely on local buses to venture into town during the week.

Last week myself and fellow candidate Chris Cornell visited local shop keepers to talk to them about the disruption. One shop keeper was clear that something needs to be done. “For years I’ve been saying to the council that the strength of this high street depends largely on the Gorrell Tank Car Park and for the third year in a row it is about to be temporarily closed” said one local shopkeeper. “The council really appreciate that their actions affect our takings”.

As the council roll out more infuriating machines to car parks down the high street, Labour would like to see local residents given half an hour’s free parking to encourage them to use local shops. Freeing up the high street would make buses run easier, prevent queueing and make it far safer where roads are narrow. It would stop our loading bays being filled with people popping in for a print of milk.

Canterbury City Council already use free parking as a means to attract shoppers to Herne Bay, so why not Whitstable?

As the council continues to raise the price of parking in our car parks and outside your house, we think that the money their new automatic plate recognition (ANPR) machines swallow because the machines don’t give change, could be better spent. A Labour council would run a honest, independent consultation on parking in town and support local businesses by using the council car parks differently.