Ewan sets wage goal after speaking in Parliament

Ewan Kirk, 15, from Morpeth and Annabelle Cooper, 17, from Alnwick, at the House of Commons.
Ewan Kirk, 15, from Morpeth and Annabelle Cooper, 17, from Alnwick, at the House of Commons.

A Morpeth teenager is pressing the case for the living wage in Northumberland after contributing to a national debate in the House of Commons.

Ewan Kirk, a year 11 student at King Edward VI School, was among the contingent of UK Youth Parliament North East members that took part in the session at Westminster.

He spoke on the motion that the national minimum wage should be raised in line with the living wage, as calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy. It is based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living.

The 15-year-old said: “By not bringing in the living wage as the minimum wage, we ultimately allow the state to fail because we do not allow people to flourish.

“Financially, the living wage could work as it would allow people to buy more things and businesses would be able to afford to increase their prices slightly, so this would all ultimately work out.”

At the end of the debate, which covered a range of issues, this subject was chosen as the Youth Parliament’s main UK-wide campaign.

There were also speeches during the session to mark 100 years since the start of World War I – one was made by Annabelle Cooper from Alnwick.

Ewan, who was voted in as a UK Youth Parliament member in February 2013, said the House of Commons was smaller than it looks on television.

The Kirkhill resident added: “There was a good atmosphere among all of the members and the debate was a bit less formal than I expected.

“I was pleased to get the chance to speak during the living wage discussion and I’m in the process of contacting Ian Lavery MP and Northumberland County Council to find out how many public sector workers in the county are on the minimum wage and how many receive the living wage.

“Hopefully, before the end of my term we can start working towards an agreement to increase the number of people who get the living wage.”