I KNOW from speaking to people on the doorstep and from requests for assistance from constituents, that making ends meet is one of the major concerns facing families at the moment across the Vale and Cardiff.
The mismatch between wages and prices continues to hit people hard in this sustained cost-of-living crisis.
Therefore I am delighted to be co-sponsoring a Private Members’ Bill which was presented in parliament last week, to strengthen the National Minimum Wage and help make work pay - which will also in the long-term help people to come off social security support and help bring that bill down.
Private Members' Bills are introduced by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers and often provide a chance for backbench or opposition MPs to secure changes.
My colleague Dan Jarvis MP was selected in the annual ballot of MPs to present a Bill in this parliamentary session, and I am delighted to be a co-sponsor of his important attempt to raise the value and restore the ambition of the National Minimum Wage.
The Bill calls on the government to introduce an ambitious target to increase the minimum wage over the course of a Parliament, as part of a national mission to tackle low pay. It would also give the Low Pay Commission new powers to raise productivity and tackle low pay in different sectors of the economy.
The Bill will be scheduled for debate in the House of Commons in November - and before then I will be joining my colleagues in calling on MPs from all parties to support the new law.
The National Minimum Wage was one of the last Labour Government’s proudest achievements and put an end to the scandal of people going to work for as little as £1 an hour.
But the value of the National Minimum Wage has declined by five per cent since 2010. One in five employees is trapped in a low paid job, and with the rising cost of living, people across the country - including many here in Penarth and across Cardiff - are struggling to make ends meet.
Ed Miliband has already vowed that the next Labour government would strengthen the minimum wage, in order to make work pay for millions of people and businesses – but we need action now, to ensure that we maintain the bond between our national wealth and the wages that people take home for a hard day’s work, and that is why I am pleased to be co-sponsoring this Bill.