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Living wage would reduce reliance on benefits - Flanagan

15 October, 2014 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan calling for the introduction of a living wage said that such a move would reduce the reliance on in-work benefits and relieve the pressure on the public purse.

Speaking prior to the Pay Rise for All – rally organised by ICTU for 12 noon, Saturday 18th October in Writers Square, Belfast, Mr Flanagan said:

"There are now more people in work who are living in poverty than those out of work.

"The casualisation of labour, through low pay, zero hour contracts, growing self-employment and under-employment, presents an ever-growing challenge to those of us concerned with the rights of working people.

"The introduction of a living wage would help stimulate economic growth by increasing gross wages, generating more disposable income, encourage spending and motivate business expansion creating more jobs.

"It would lead to a reduced reliance on in-work benefits such as working tax credits and housing benefits which in turn would relieve pressure on the public purse allowing for refocusing of spending targets.

"We need to work imaginatively and collectively to eradicate poverty and stimulate economic growth.

"One of the first steps to the implementation of a general living wage could be a stipulation that all jobs created with Invest NI support or through public procurement contracts should be paid at or above the living wage." 

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