Labour will strengthen the minimum wage to help those on low pay(June 16, 2014)
I am proud that the last Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage. This boosted pay for millions at the bottom - without leading to a loss of jobs.
But we face different issues today. The minimum wage was originally designed to prevent extreme low pay and abuse. Today, the cost of living crisis means that the challenge is to help hardworking people who earn above the minimum wage, but still live in poverty or are dependent on benefits. Over five million people, or one in five employees, are low paid.
This has got worse under the Tories, with families on average £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron became Prime Minister. And the value of the National Minimum Wage has declined by five per cent over the same period.
Those on the lowest pay are at the sharpest end of the cost of living crisis. In-work poverty is a shocking legacy of the Tories’ four years in power and the next Labour government is determined to do something about it.
That’s why in Parliament this week Labour voted to set the Low Pay Commission a five-year target to raise the National Minimum Wage faster than average earnings. This will ensure that there is a bond between the wealth we earn as a nation and the wages that people in Liverpool Walton earn for a hard day’s work.
A clear five-year target gives businesses time to plan and adapt their business models so they are able to support higher wages for their employees. The Tories’ economic policies over the last four years have resulted in higher prices, lower wages and a cost of living crisis that has hit tens of thousands of people in Liverpool Walton.
Labour will create a new economy that works for everyone instead of just a few at the top.