A highlight of our Living Wage for Greater Manchester event was Dave Morton’s testimony about his own experiences of being paid below the Living Wage, and how the Living Wage has made a difference in his life. Here he writes more about life on low pay.
“Imagine it’s a cold winters day the wind is blowing a gale and the rain is hitting the windows hard, you get up and run to the bathroom on tiptoes, not so your quiet, you run on tiptoes because you have Lino not carpets, and its cold, you are still saving for the carpet, the house is freezing because you haven’t the money to keep the heating on just so you can get out of bed warm, so you get a cold wash for the same reason.
After finishing your ablutions you put your coat on and head off to work, breakfast, well hmmm, you’ve left the milk so someone else can have it, you didn’t buy anymore because you didn’t have the money, as you step outside the wind blows through your thin coat and the teeming rain starts its job of drenching you, no hood on the coat, you see; when you did have the money in the summer (no heating bills) you only bought a normal coat not a good sturdy winter one with a hood, again, you did not have the money.
You don’t get the bus because it’s too early for the bus and also you can’t afford it really, that money could go on something else more needful.
You walk to work or at least struggle to work through the wind, no car-simple reason, not enough money to buy lessons never mind the car, the rain soaks you and not a few cars that go past spray you with fountains of water, some drivers seem to go out of their way to do so, you wonder if they have heard of Karma, or you think do they really care that you haven’t got a change of clothes and you hope the heating’s on at work.
This was not 1930 this was me last year.
At school we were taught everyone should get the same, when I started reading I learnt that poverty, homelessness, alcoholism and addiction was an illness borne of society, now 30 years on, the media like to make out that it’s an individual’s fault if he hasn’t a job, if he is poor, if he is homeless, it’s his own fault.
I have worked for nearly 14 years with homelessness and I have yet to see a rich man homeless.
The living wage hasn’t made me rich but it has helped.”