IoS letters, emails & online postings (11 November 2012)


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It is pleasing to see the Labour Party inching towards a stronger policy on the living wage (Ed Miliband exclusive interview, 4 November), but disappointing that the movement is so small. If this is a "central part" of Mr Miliband's vision, then enforcing a living wage clause in Whitehall contracts and "naming and shaming" big companies are rather small steps.

The Green Party believes that everyone working a full week should earn sufficient money to pay for the necessities of food, clothing, housing and transport – and that's what the Labour Party should enforce should it return to government.

If the minimum wage is less than a living wage, then the state is forced to step in, as the former Labour government did with tax credits and housing benefit – effectively paying huge sums in corporate welfare to ensure that underpaid workers survive.

This money is effectively going straight into the pockets of underpaying employers – and in the case, as we're increasingly learning, of many large corporations, into off-shore tax havens.

Businesses that have implemented the wage have found real benefits in staff retention, productivity, and motivation.

There's no reason why companies should get a bonus for doing the right thing. Let's instead end corporate welfare and make the minimum wage a living wage – and properly enforce it.

Natalie Bennett

Leader, Green Party of England and Wales

I work as a team leader in a day-care children's nursery for a wage of £6.63 an hour. The living wage would make a huge difference; however, as it's a small private nursery I imagine it wouldn't apply. We have to be suitably qualified, but parents have no idea how poorly paid we are. We constantly hear about teachers, but they don't work a 52-week year with only five weeks' holiday. They get pension rights, we do not, and if absent with an illness there is no sick pay. Let's see a fair wage for all, not just the select few.

Name withheld


Your article concerning the gift of a facsimile by ourselves and others to Egypt misrepresents the position (How tourism cursed tomb of King Tut, 4 November). This is a token of friendship from us and the EU who support the process and will display it before its Valley of the Kings installation.

This is a story of enthusiastic, altruistic perseverance – developing extraordinary technologies and skills to be transferred to Egypt and others to conserve their heritage. This creates both long-term benefits and the technology advances needed to record and re-create the tombs of Seti I and Queen Nefertari – already closed to the public.

This free gift has very specific, not commercial, aims: promoting a sustainable approach to tourism in the conservation of cultural heritage; transferring technology and skills to create jobs and set up workshops in Egypt

What is happening in Luxor is not disastrous – what is happening to the fabric of the tombs is. We are not trying to save this wonderful heritage for "tomb tourism", but this is a serious, generous concern in association with Egypt and the academic community to save our heritage for future generations.

James Macmillan-Scott

President, Factum Foundation

Madrid, Spain

Janet Street-Porter, highlighting the lack of power women have in society, does her sex no favours in revealing her ignorance of European geography (4 November). The last time I checked, Azerbaijan and Armenia were not members of the EU.

Jerry Campbell

Via email

The much-maligned Pink List returns, like the gay community's least-favourite stepchild (4 November). It's not the content which irks – if Nicola Adams is pleased to be perched atop the list, I'm happy for her – it's the way the list is presented. We've no idea how the list of random people, sharing only a sexual predilection, was drawn up. Show us your motivations, calculations and deliberations. Don't just bark that it's important; tell me "how" and "why".

The Guyliner (blogger)

Via email

Jackie Crozier, No 99 on the Pink List, hasn't been Manchester Pride's Festival Director during 2012. The festival this year was organised by a team led by our chief executive John Stewart.

Tim Pickstone

Vice-chair, Manchester Pride

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