Labour’s plan for National Minimum Wage rise: Because hard work should be rewarded

The introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in 1999 was a great achievement of the last Labour Government. It ended the exploitation of millions of workers and increased productivity without job losses. But the challenge we faced 15 years ago is different from the one we face today and will face in coming years.

That’s why Ed Miliband last week announced Labour’s plan to raise the NMW to £8 an hour by 2020.

One in five British workers – including many in Cardiff and Penarth – find themselves struggling on low pay, relying on benefits or tax credits to top up their wage so they can afford essentials, even though they often work long, hard hours.

This can’t be right. If you work hard you should be able to bring up your family with dignity without relying on the taxpayer to make up the difference.

So the next Labour government, working with businesses and the Low Pay Commission, will raise the NMW to £8 by 2020, a move that will put an extra £3,000 a year in the pockets of Britain’s lowest-paid workers.

This important move will end the scandal of five million British people struggling to make ends meet due to low pay. But we understand that businesses need time to adjust their models to support higher wages. That’s why we will raise the NMW over the five years of the next Parliament so businesses will have enough time to plan for the long-term goal of £8 an hour by 2020.

The Tories boast that the economy is fixed, but we’ve seen a recovery that is working just for the privileged few and not for the many in Cardiff and Penarth who are on average almost £1600 a year worse off under Cameron and Osborne, and who have contacted me for assistance as they struggle to provide for their families.

Labour’s plan will ensure Britain becomes a country that rewards hard work again – because everyone should be able to live on the wage they earn.


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