The living wage is now £7.65, whilst the minimum continues to fall short by an unjustifiable £1.15. I’d argue that although the Guardian claim that over a fifth of people earn under this figure: most people in Cornwall do.
Being only a small startup myself, I am committed to redressing the stark disparity of wealth I have seen in Cornwall since I grew up here. As a teenager, I slaved for 70 hours some weeks earning £3 an hour in one of the county’s popular tourist cafés. As an adult I taught children whose families were often surviving on a collective income of less than £20,000 and recently Cornwall has been pronounced the poorest area in Europe. I feel very strongly about the incredible work organisations such as Whole Again Soups, Slow Food Cornwall and The Cornish Seaweed Company carry out; empowering people within the community through food education.
As a food writer and social media maven, my role, I feel, is to help create opportunities; empowering people to start their own companies and raise their standard of living. This will come in time, but is a strong part of my business plan. I can’t do it alone. Despite having had a Florence Nightingale complex most of my life, I need the help of other local businesses.
What can local businesses do for equality?
We can buy local!
Copywriters are everywhere. And what’s great about us is that we can work remotely. However, just because I live in Cornwall, this does not mean I should be paid less to do as good a job, if not better, than my London counterparts. Local businesses should be keeping their focus on employing local people; from web designers to illustrators; from cleaning companies to drinks providers. Similarly, it means that anyone carrying out any work for me should be paid fairly. If I can achieve this on my profit margins, then big business sure as hell should be doing so. I am confident that other local businesses are doing their best to provide opportunities and support locality in our beautiful county.
I wrote recently about Cornwall’s fantastic entrepreneurial spirit. Despite this social disparity, communities work together and there are people with excellent minds and ideas innovating daily within the county.
Through supporting local, buying local and eating local, we can create our own economy down here and keep the innovative and hard working spirit of our tin toiling predecessors very much alive.