Saturday, February 13, 2016

Government explains why its "Living Wage" is not enough to live on

Parliamentary written questions can sometimes - sometimes - be highly revealing. My recent favourite is this exchange between the brilliant Lord Beecham from Newcastle to the government:

Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they have labelled the national minimum wage of £7.20 an hour as "the national living wage" when it falls below the UK Living Wage and London Living Wage set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Photo of Baroness Neville-Rolfe Baroness Neville-Rolfe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills                

The National Living Wage will come into force on 1 April 2016. We estimate that a full-time National Minimum Wage worker will earn over £4,400 more by 2020 from the National Living Wage in cash terms.

This Government is committed to improving living standards, particularly for the low paid. Guided by a proportion of median earnings which leading experts recommend, the National Living Wage recognizes the balance needed of an affordable rate for businesses with achieving a significant increase in minimum pay.

The Low Pay Commission will continue to make recommendations on the appropriate rate for the National Living Wage going forward, to make sure that wages rise to reward workers while considering the impact on the economy.

NOTE there is NOTHING here about the "living wage" being a wage that anybody can be expected to live on. It will simply be an "increase" that is "appropriate...going forward".


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