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Column for The Croydon Advertiser: The Minimum Wage campaign
24/01/2014 14:18:00


Last week the Chancellor said he supports an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage. I’m thrilled by this news - it’s something I have been campaigning for, both publicly before I became a minister and privately since.

When this Government came to power, it faced two inter-related challenges - first, rescuing our economy; and second, making work pay. Under Labour, many people found themselves trapped on benefits - they discovered they were little better off, or in some cases worse off, in work than out of work - and others were allowed to remain on out-of-work benefits for years. This was both unfair to those who were working and paying for the welfare system and to those trapped, or allowed to remain, on benefits - there's plenty of evidence that work is good for your health and wider wellbeing.

We've already done two important things to make work pay. We've raised the amount of money you can earn before you start paying income tax. This helps everyone in work, but particularly those on low pay - someone working full-time for the minimum wage is paying half the income tax under this Government that they were paying under Labour. And we've introduced a cap on the amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive so that people who work hard don’t find themselves worse off than someone living next door to them who isn’t working.

But I’ve always thought we should also increase the minimum wage (whilst cutting the taxes that businesses pay when they employ someone so that any increase doesn’t lead to an increase in unemployment). I'm lucky - I have a job I love. I get up at half past five every morning looking forward to going to work. But many of the people I represent aren’t so lucky. They do something they don’t enjoy to put a roof over their families’ heads. If we want people on benefits to take jobs which, if we are honest, we wouldn’t want to do ourselves then we have to ensure that they get a fair reward for their effort.

Most of my constituents understand that tough decisions have to be taken to deal with the deficit, that although we are making progress we are not out of the woods yet. What they ask is that those decisions are fair - that everyone contributes, but those with the broadest shoulders contribute the most and that as the economy recovers everyone who works hard shares in that recovery. Last week’s news shows that the Government understands and shares that sentiment.

This column was first printed in The Croydon Advertiser on Friday 24th January 2014

Comment on this blog


Readers' Comments

On 24/01/2014 14:38:00 Jim wrote:
The minimum wage should be abolished, as should the quango (the "Low Pay Commission") that recommends it. It all fuels the "entitled" society. There was a time when the Conservatives opposed it.

I wonder how many LPC people have ever run a business (or had a proper job). No doubt they are very good at consulting, reporting and feathering their own public sector nests.

Whatever happened to the "bonfire of the quangos"? For every 4 people working in the private sector, there is still 1 public official holding us back.

On 24/01/2014 16:14:00 Dan Monks wrote:
A raise in the minimum wage is indeed welcome, but it's still not a living wage is it?

This blog is smoke and mirrors I'm afraid. Nothing but party political propaganda. You can trumpet the proposed (because it hasn't happened yet) increase in the minimum wage, benefits cap and any other headline grabbing/electorate bribing policy but this doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't tell the story of £40+million wasted by this government by writing off IT work on the Universal Credit, the huge cuts in funding of the NHS and many other public services (despite assurances to the contrary in election manifestos), the cuts in taxes for the extremely wealthy, the failure to collect the fair tax rate from some big businesses, the widening gap between rich and poor... I could go on and on... This isn't a party political thing Mr Barwell - Labour are just as rubbish as the current coalition. This is a matter of equality, fairness and forward thinking, socially inclusive ways of running our country. But is that really what you want? If so, call a spade a spade... forget climbing the greasy pole of politics... dedicate yourself to a greater cause, to really trying to create a country with long term prospects for ALL our children.

On 07/02/2014 23:28:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
Jim, you really dont understand. Legitimate employers are undercut by those not paying the minimum wage ...which is frankly peanuts. Sadly in the entertainment industry it is possible to run sub-NMW scams to the point at which they are nothing more than fraud. We were told at the time NMW was introduced it would be hugely damaging for business. Well, it makes no impact on legitimate businesses. I could talk for hours on this subject but I'll let former Equity front man Clive Hurst expain to you how and why NMW and it's bedfellow the upfront free fraud is such a massive fraud/evil here


If you want to know how to turn wannable stand-ups into indentured labour follow this link


Legitimate comedy promoters book people on artistic merit and carry the financial risk of no one coming.

NMW breachers and scammers reverse this logic and reduce stand-up to bullying people into pubs for cash.

They dont generate huge GDP for the country and they dont generate real jobs either - they are simply an orobous of financial misery and indentured labour.

What is the NMW anyway? It is peanuts. Seriously. If you cant pay the NMW you're not an employer at all. Just a parasite. And not even somebody ripping off those with disposable income but someone ripping off jobseekers. The lowest of the low.




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