One of the great legacies of the last Labour Government is the National Minimum Wage. Introduced in the teeth of opposition from the Tories, it raised the wages of millions of workers and helped improve living standards for families across the country.
In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign – even calling it the ‘National Living Wage’.
Yet the government’s ‘National Living Wage’ is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. It is based on a target to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020. Under current forecasts, this means a rise to less than хЃ9 per hour by 2020.
This is unacceptable. I want to see a statutory REAL Living Wage which independent forecasts put this at over хЃ10/hour in 2020.
Labour’s REAL Living Wage will reflect the cost of living. It is about ensuring what households need to survive & doesn’t take account of possible employment effects.хЪLabour’s REAL Living Wage will be an independent economic calculation based on the cost of living and adjusted for inflation.
Moreover, Labour’s REAL Living Wage is just one aspect of our plan to tackle low pay.хЪOnly a Labour Government can deliver the industrial strategy to rebuild and transform Britain лв to address wage stagnation, inequality, regional imbalance and provide investment support in those areas like St Helens which have been hardest hit by economic decline and austerity.
Paying a living wage makes a real difference to workers and employers, their families and the wider community. I recognise the challenges of becoming a Living Wage employer, but it’s a challenge we need to help more organisations meet, if workers and their families are to live, and not just get by. I am delighted to see more and more employers in St Helens and across the country become living wage employers.
Decent pay is not just fundamentally right, it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Britain.