Tagged: Paul Butler

Bishop saddened at low aspirations of North-East’s young people

The North-East’s most senior churchman says he is disturbed at the decline in young people’s hopes and aspirations as they move to secondary school.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, said children in the North-East had lower aspirations than anywhere else in the country and hopes and aspirations “decline greatly” with the move from primary to secondary education.

The Bishop used his Easter message to demand more be done to help North-East children achieve their dreams.

“Unfortunately, as some children get older, their hopes and aspirations tend to reduce,” he said.

“The difficult truth is that the North-East of England has the lowest levels of aspirations among young people in the whole country, which is a sad statistic and one that should be hard to accept for all of us.

“Disturbingly hopes and aspirations decline greatly with the move from primary to secondary education.

“This is something we need to change. We all need to give our children and young people a sense of hope that their aspirations can be met rather than a sense that they will fail to achieve their dreams.

 “We need also to help them have sensible hopes; not everyone can become a famous celebrity. Good hopes and aspirations are about being people who help others and contribute well to our whole society.”

Bishop Butler is the Church of England’s lead bishop for children and young people and made youngsters one of his top three priorities upon getting the job last year.

He has regularly spoken out on issues affecting children, including raising concerns over calls to teach sex education in primary schools.

His Easter message was prompted by a visit to Evenwood CofE Primary School, in Teesdale, where he said children did a brilliant job of retelling the Easter story using drama, song and video and it was a huge delight to be alongside the terrific staff and many proud parents, grandparents and carers.

He said urged Christians to encourage young people and show them Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, can be a time for hope.

Source – Durham Times,  02 Apr 2015

Living Wage campaigners call for better pay in the North East

Living wage campaigners have hit out after it emerged a third of people in some North East towns are not earning to enough to get by.

Unions, politicians and even the new Bishop of Durham have called for more firms to take up the Living Wage, currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK.

Just 20 North East firms pay the higher than minimum wage to their lowest paid staff, a move the unions say has to change.

Latest figures show more than one in five people receiving less than the living wage, with some parts of the region faring much worse.

Darlington tops the region’s blackspots with 37.6% of people paid less than the living wage, with Blaydon at 34.2% and Berwick 31.7%.

Northern TUC boss Beth Farhat said the unions were looking to see more support for their pay battle: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain.

“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it’s costing our economy dear.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it – but Government must show equal initiative.

“We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from Government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more. During Fair Pay Fortnight we’re asking workers to back our call to MPs to get all political parties to put decent pay at the top of their agendas in the run up to the election.”

The TUC campaign is today backed by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, who said: “The Living Wage is good for everyone: good for the employee and their family – they have enough to live on; good for the employer in recruitment, retention and morale of their staff; good for us all.

“The Living Wage makes sense for everyone. It makes sense economically, socially, morally and spiritually. It helps us all build better lives and a better society.”

Union research suggested that for working women the picture is even bleaker.

The campaign has been backed by Hexham’s Conservative MP Guy Opperman, who has said he supports the need for firms to voluntarily take on the wage increase.

He said: “I have long been a supporter of the Living Wage. The campaign has really taken off in London and the South East, but what I hope to do today is to bring the campaign right here to the North East.

“I understand the concerns that business has, but I really want to explain the benefits it can bring. As many people will be aware, I am a huge advocate of the regional banking system we see in Germany. There are lots of things we can learn from our Germanic neighbours, especially around productivity.

> Is this guy (sic) really a Tory ? He won’t get far with opinions like those.

“Paying the Living Wage can have a hugely positive impact on things like productivity, quality of work, reduced absenteeism and retention of talented staff.

“In a recent independent study 84% of businesses believed paying the living wage led to increased productivity.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  01 April 2014