Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities
Jobs and growth are the over-riding priorities of the Welsh Government as set out in our Programme for Government. The Welsh Government believes a strong Welsh economy is best built on fair, just and sustainable jobs, recognising the importance of work to income, health and wellbeing. This is the Wales we want our children to inherit.
The Welsh Government recognises the Living Wage as one of a range of positive actions to help alleviate the problems caused by low wages and in-work poverty in Wales, major causes of child poverty which result in long-term damaging effects on children’s outcomes.
This reflects the Welsh Government’s aspiration to remain a Living Wage employer and its commitment to leading and encouraging other employers in the public, third and private sectors to consider becoming a Living Wage employer.
Benefits of Living Wage can include bearing down on in-work poverty, reinforcing positive messages about work as a route out of poverty, promoting dignity and fairness in work and boosting local economies. The Welsh Government sees its own role as a major Welsh employer as strategically important in demonstrating the potential of a Living Wage for Wales and will continue to work to guide, support and inform debate on this issue whilst respecting existing employment packages and the role of Trade Union partners in free collective bargaining.
The Welsh Government acknowledges that the Living Wage is not an antidote to the challenges of poverty by itself and notes concerns about the costs and implications of implementation, particularly against the backdrop of current economic challenges. The Welsh Government also recognises the significance of the total employment package in this agenda.
The Welsh Government has established an advisory group for this purpose and will be bringing the sum of social partners’ advice to an event on The Living Wage in Wales. This will be held in early 2013.