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It's getting colder for all of us. It's getting even colder for people struggling who are homeless in Cambridge or unable to afford fuel bills, despite working long hours on inadequate pay, or forced to survive on Food Bank donations because Government Universal Credit rules deny new applicants support until after Christmas, a horrible Scrooge delay of six weeks.

Cambridge is a tale of two cities and, as with our Rally last weekend, Labour Councillors, local trade unionists and our MP Daniel Zeichner are campaigning on three issues and eleven simple words - everyone in Cambridge is entitled to "Real Jobs, Fair Pay and Income, and Affordable Homes for All." Why should people in one north ward live on average nine years less compared to people living in west Cambridge, which is largely down to inadequate incomes. 

The Conservative and Lib Dem austerity programme since 2010 targeted less strong groups to pay an excessive price for the mess created by the banking crisis. Were were never all in this together. 

On real jobs, workers need a fair deal from all Cambridge employers, particularly younger staff, minimum conditions, job security and minimum hours. And why should 18 year olds get less pay for doing as well the same job as 22 or 27 years olds, or be denied basic benefits and housing?

On fair pay, high Cambridge costs of living particularly housing mean everyone needs at least the "Real Living Wage" or £8.75 an hour to survive here. We want all Cambridge employers to follow the example of 100+ local firms and 55 accredited employers and pay it. And, as the City Council is considering, employers could pay a higher minimum, in our case planning at least £10 an hour from April 2018. 

You can be the difference. Everyone reading this can ask your employer and shops or restaurant you use to pay at least £8.75. Ask what is their minimum wage and, if you don't get the right answer, ask why not? The City Council and our MP want all local employers, including the University of Cambridge and all colleges and schools, to pay at least the "Real Living Wage" from 2018.

In addition, thousands of Cambridge NHS staff, education and public sector workers have suffered a 5% real income cut since 2010 austerity. We will see if the Chancellor adds funding to match his fine words, because claims of ending that damaging Pay Cap will otherwise be meaningless. 

Finally, better pay will never be enough without far more affordable homes for rents, as buying is out of range for too many. The planned 500 extra new Cambridge City Council homes will help, as will council targets of 40% affordable homes in all medium and large new developments. But we also need national protection for private sector tenants from unfair hikes, and benefit rules that truly take account of Cambridge costs rather than Cambridgeshire averages or worse.

That is why "Real Jobs, Fair Pay and Income, and Affordable Homes for All" is essential for all and the future of our wonderful city. Everyone deserves the basics and a city fair for all. 

Councillor Lewis Herbert, is Leader of the Labour-led Cambridge City Council and city councillor for Coleridge Ward. 

Why Cambridge needs real jobs, fair pay and income, and affordable homes for all

It's getting colder for all of us. It's getting even colder for people struggling who are homeless in Cambridge or unable to afford fuel bills, despite working long hours on...

Cambridge City Council has marked the start of Living Wage Week by pledging to explore the feasibility of a new minimum wage for council staff.

The pledge will be formally announced at the start of the Living Wage Week event held tonight at Allia Future Business Centre, following the announcement that the new Real Living Wage rate for the UK is £8.75. 

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said, "we support the principle at the heart of the Real Living Wage campaign that a fair day's work deserves a fair day's pay. 

Therefore, in the yearly review of the council's budget, we are exploring if we can afford to go further than paying the Real Living Wage as a minimum rate. By doing so, we hope to set an example for larger employers that can afford to do to pay £10 per hour as a minimum.

We will continue to promote the Real Living Wage of £8.75 as a minimum rate of pay to local employers, as this is independently calculated to reflect real living costs. 

The Real Living Wage is set by the Living Wage Commission, consisting of employers, trade unions, civil society and independent experts. The rates changes each November in order to reflect the changes to living costs, and employers that are accredited with the Living Wage Foundation have six months in which to implement the change. 

Living Wage Week (5 to 11 November) is a national campaign to celebrate Living Wage accredited employers and encourage more to sign up. As of today the Real Living Wage has increased in Cambridge from £8.45 to £8.75. This is compared to the 'living wage' set by the government of £7.50 for over 25s. 

 

City Council celebrates Living Wage Week by exploring feasibility of a new minimum wage for council staff.

Cambridge City Council has marked the start of Living Wage Week by pledging to explore the feasibility of a new minimum wage for council staff.

Leading Labour Councillors in both the City and County councils have said they are in shock after the Tories at Cambridgeshire County Council have rejected the chance for a major national centre for arts, education and research in the north of the city. 

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The CREATE (Centre for Research and Engagement in Arts, Technology and Education) project aimed to bring technology, arts and education together as part of Cambridgeshire Music's strategy for "makespaces" for communities across the county enabling high quality recorded and live content to be streamed into homes and schools across Cambridgeshire. 

On Friday, Tory councillors on the County Commercial & Investment Committee decided to sell St Luke's Barn in Arbury, meaning the likely loss of a £1,000,000 Arts Council grant for the CREATE project. 

Councillor Richard Johnson, the City's Executive Councillor for Communities, says: 'This is a major blow for arts education in Cambridge. The Centre would have been located in some of the most deprived communities in the city and opened the door to the wonderful world of art and music to young people from across Cambridge and further afield. The City Council was in early discussions about using some developer funding to support this project of national importance."

Councillor Jocelynne Scutt, Labour County Councillor for Arbury says "Labour councillors on the County Council have always supported direct funding support to the most disadvantaged parts of Cambridgeshire. We saved the Fens Learning Centres, for example, when their funding was threatened.

Arbury and the north of Cambridge have many equally disadvantaged communities. Coming so soon after the £900,000 cuts to children's centres, it's especially hard to see this long term and ambitious vision for the creative arts dashed by a shortsighted hope for a small one off capital receipt."

County Tories deal major blow to vision for National Arts and Music Centre in Cambridge

Leading Labour Councillors in both the City and County councils have said they are in shock after the Tories at Cambridgeshire County Council have rejected the chance for a major...

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