Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has repeated Labour’s pledge to increase the national minimum wage to £10 per hour. The increase would be implemented immediately in 2020 if the Labour Party won the next General Election.
Corbyn said in a statement:
“Labour’s real living wage will immediately boost the incomes and opportunities of more than 20% of the workforce, especially in sectors such as retail, care and hospitality. We know that where work pays, living standards rise and reliance on benefits falls. This is the right thing to do, and a Labour government will be committed to rebalancing our economy so that no one and no community is left behind”.
The current living wage is set to increase the minimum wage to £9 by 2020, although younger workers may receive a lower rate. Labour’s plan was first mentioned by John McConnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the party’s annual conference.
The Government has announced a series of measures to ensure that employees receive the legal minimum for the work that they do.
The measures being introduced include:
– doubling the penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage
– increasing the enforcement budget
– setting up a new team in HMRC to take forward criminal prosecutions for those who deliberately do not comply
ensuring that anyone found guilty will be considered for disqualification from being a company director for up to 15 years.
Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, said:
“There is no excuse for employers flouting minimum wage rules and these announcements will ensure those who do try and cheat staff out of pay will feel the full force of the law. This one nation government is committed to making work pay and making sure hardworking people get the salary they are entitled to”.
The current national minimum wage is £6.50 an hour for over 21s, £5.13 for those aged between 18 and 20, £3.79 for those aged between 16 and 18 and an apprentice wage of £2.73 an hour.
Downing Street has confirmed that the minimum wage is to increase to £6.70 an hour, an increase of 20p (3%) from the old rate of £6.50. This increase was recommended by the Low Pay Commission with the minimum wage rates for 18-20 year olds (up 3% to £5.30) and 16-17 year olds (up 3% to £3.87) also increasing.
The Low Pay Commission also recommended an increase in the national minimum wage for apprentices of 3% but the Government has opted for a 20% rise to £3.30 an hour.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said:
“At the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain is a simple idea – that those who put in, should get out; that hard work is really rewarded; that the benefits of recovery are truly national. That’s what today’s announcement is all about – saying to hardworking taxpayers, this is a government that is on your side. It will mean more financial security for Britain’s families; and a better future for our country.”
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said in a statement:
“This is just one of the many ways in which we’ve created a fairer society whilst building a stronger economy. If you work hard, this government is behind you all the way. Whether you’re on low pay or starting your dream career through an apprenticeship, you will get more support to help you go further and faster.”
Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, said:
“This 20p rise falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Ministers have misled working families who have been left worse off.”
The increase will take effect from October 2015.