Citizens UK today celebrated the news that Birmingham is to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games and asked West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward to ensure the games are used to create a positive long term legacy for the city.
Michael Seal, Chair of Citizens UK, Birmingham said:
"We are delighted with the news Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and congratulate all involved in the bid. We look forward to celebrating the announcement on the 7th of March with up to 1000 people from communities across the region. We welcome the Games are a big opportunity to raise aspirations for the city and the region.
"To this end we look forward to Birmingham hosting the first Living Wage Commonwealth Games, with guarantees on how families will benefit through good jobs & work-experience, with better access to sports & youth facilities whilst establishing a community land trust for housing.”
Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the political leadership of Birmingham to ensure The Commonwealth Games offer both a sporting spectacle and a life changing Living Wage and housing legacy.
“We congratulate Mayor Andy Street and Council leader Ian Ward on securing the games and look forward to working with them to ensure the games benefit every citizen in Birmingham. Ken Livingston, Boris Johnson and now Sadiq Khan have all supported the Living Wage movement through making London 2012 a Living Wage games.
“This meant that all staff working at the Olympic park earned a real Living Wage that was enough to live on, and other employers on and around the site were encouraged to adopt the real living wage after the games. As a result, thousands of people in East London can count on responsible employers paying a wage based on the cost of living. It would be great if Birmingham followed suit.
“The Commonwealth Games could also herald a legacy of more social housing if the athletes’ accommodation were custom built for community use as rented or Community Land Trust homes after the games. The Community Land Trust model, pioneered in East London during the Olympics can be a way to create genuinely affordable homes for life.”
“Citizens UK in Birmingham and the West Midlands look forward to working with and supporting the Games and welcoming our Commonwealth brothers and sisters to this great city.”
About the real Living Wage:
The modern Living Wage movement in Britain first began in a meeting in East London when Citizens UK brought together churches, mosques and schools with low paid cleaners in 2001. This lead to a march down Mile End and a call for staff working in East London hospitals to be paid a ‘living wage’. The London living wage was championed citywide by then-mayor Ken Livingston after a successful Citizens UK Assembly. In 2011 the movement became national and the Living Wage Foundation was launched, and in 2012 the London Olympics became the first ‘Living Wage Olympics’.
Since being introduced in 2001 it is estimated that the living wage movement has put almost £23 million extra into the pay packets of workers in the West Midlands alone. The voluntary rate, which employers accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation pay to all staff and third party contractors, rose in November by 30p an hour to £8.75. For those living in London, the rate will rose by 45p to £10.20 an hour.
About Community Land Trusts:
Community Land Trusts are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area. The campaign for a Community Land Trust in London started at the Olympic Park. The 2012 bid team canvassed support throughout the city and Citizens UK – then, The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) – responded that they would support the effort, on the condition that it delivered a true legacy for the people of East London. Our demands ranged from paying everyone a London Living Wage to including a genuinely affordable housing legacy through a Community Land Trust.
Since then, the London Legacy Development Corporation included a requirement for at least 20 homes on the Eastwick and Sweetwater neighbourhood should be CLT homes. Nevertheless, TELCO continues to push for over 100 homes, as originally agreed by the Olympic authorities. The decision about who delivers these homes is yet to be made, but London CLT hope that our first hope of delivering a genuinely affordable housing legacy can be realised in the near future.