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NEW REPORT Decent work: Harnessing the power of local government

17 May 2019 - 12:14 by helen.walker

A new IPPR North report looks at how local authorities can help to create a culture where people are paid a Living Wage North that can provide a decent income for all. 

The North is enduring a severe job quality crisis. Record high employment figures conceal major deficiencies in the quality of work people are doing. And while every region of the country has seen an unprecedented squeeze on wages, real weekly pay has fallen by £21 since 2008 in the North – more than the national average. Poor job quality and low pay has a profound effect on people in terms of in-work
poverty, personal wellbeing and income inequality.

But many local authorities in the North are innovating to improve job quality in their area. Local authorities are major employers, they commission services from local businesses and charities, and they have considerable ‘soft power’ to influence a broader range of local organisations. Many local authorities in the North have used this power to implement ‘decent work’ policies that improve employment conditions.
This is often a difficult task, as there are legal and financial challenges that must be overcome. But some northern local authorities have found innovative ways through these obstacles – as have others across the country. This report aims to help other local authorities in the North and across the country by showing how this innovation can boost employment conditions in their areas.

The IPPR report has recommendations for the following:

Northern political leaders
Prioritise decent work outcomes in procurement and collaborate to help each other to overcome any obstacles to achieving this
Develop a Northern Employment Charter – built up from their own individual initiatives
Set out a vision and plan to become a ‘living wage region’ by 2025 at the latest
Local authorities
Explore and implement the practical steps and recommendations outlined in this report to overcome barriers to decent work policies, and to promote and embed them
Explore and undertake the 10 practical steps in the ‘Councillors guide to decent work in commissioning and procurement’ included in this report
Central government
Increase funding to local government, as part of a package including fiscal autonomy, a fair system of redistribution that reflects need and deprivation, and long-term financial settlements

A full copy of the report is avaiable from the IPPR website

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