Polegate’s MP met with the Chancellor last week to demand help for small businesses and charities in her constituency, so they can afford to pay the Living Wage to their employees.
Having built close links with small businesses, Chambers of Commerce and charities since being elected just 18 months ago, Maria Caulfield looked to press upon the Chancellor the economic challenges that being situated in the South East are presenting.
Small charities in Lewes, Polegate and Seaford have particularly raised concerns over the effect paying the living wage which is set to increase yearly until 2020. Although all agree that it is vital that in high cost area’s their staff are paid well, the changes to the living wage are resulting in a number of small businesses and charities – who don’t benefit from corporation tax changes - facing financial difficulties.
Speaking after the meeting, Ms Caulfield said, “I am grateful to the Chancellor for meeting with me to discuss this issue. I highlighted that while small businesses and charities are paying the living wage they are often having to reduce employee hours to be able to afford it and so workers are not feeling any benefit from being paid more. I put suggestions to him, such as those by the Sussex Archaeological Society in Lewes, where schemes like gift aid could be amended to support charities in affording the living wage. The Chancellor seemed acutely aware of the issue and pledged to look at this further as he is keen to support small businesses and charities in constituencies such as Lewes.
“I am committed to be being a voice for those in the constituency who come to me with an issue and I will have no hesitation in going to the top of Government to make sure their voice is heard.”