Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will be urged by religious and business leaders to ensure every UK worker earns at least the Living Wage.
David Cameron, however, has ducked out of the event in central London on Monday afternoon where more than 2,200 voters get the chance to grill the party leaders on what they plan to do to improve social justice.
Citizens UK has created its own manifesto for social justice addressing divisive issues including pay-day lending, social care, indefinite detention and the Living Wage. Political leaders at the campaigning organisation’s biggest assembly yet held will be urged to sign up to it. Sajid Javid will represent the Conservatives.
One of the main issues identified by the People’s Manifesto – which was drawn up by 350 faith bodies, workplaces, community associations and educational organisations – is how five million workers in the UK are still paid less than the Living Wage.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “It is a scandal that millions of people are not receiving a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. Paying a Living Wage is not about generosity or charity; it is about fairness and justice.”
Mike Kelly, the head of Living Wage, at accountants KPMG, said the company was “proud” to support the campaign and added: “For us it’s not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense too.
“All the political parties have been vocal in their support of the Living Wage. Today, we want to hear about their specific policies that will encourage those who can, to pay it and ensure a recovery for all.”
Charlotte Wood, who helped put the manifesto together, said: “Listening formed the backbone of the manifesto. It wasn’t crafted by an elite group in Whitehall but in kitchens in Cardiff, church halls in Nottingham and at the school gates in Hackney.”
Social care was named by Citizens UK as another top priority. “Social care is in crisis,” said Ms Wood. “That’s why we are asking politicians to commit to tackle the problems and tell us how they will improve standards for everyone.”
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