Tag Archives: minimum wage

LibLink: Nick Clegg: George Osborne’s Living Wage is a trick and workers have been betrayed

Very, very strong words from Nick Clegg this lunchtime in an article on the Standard. He talks about how the Liberal Democrats’ carefully constructed initiatives to help people into work and eliminate the poverty trap have been swept away by George Osborne.

He starts by outlining why he thinks work is so important:

Work is not just an economic necessity. It brings identity and self-reliance. It is a spur to ingenuity and a catalyst for growth. Work demands the learning of new skills. It sustains communities and nourishes families. Without work, society crumbles.

He goes on to say what the Liberal Democrats did to help people into work:

That is why seven years ago — shortly after I became leader of the Liberal Democrats — the party started arguing in favour of lifting the income tax personal allowance. It seemed a little technical at the time — harder to explain than headline-grabbing reductions in tax rates — but the aim was simple enough: working taxpayers, especially those on low pay, should keep more of the money they earn as an incentive to work.

It seemed indefensible at the time that the taxman was taking money off you the moment you earned £6,035. The rest, as they say, is history: the aim of lifting the tax allowance to £10,000 and beyond became the principal tax reform of the Coalition. It took millions of people on low pay out of paying income tax and proved to be so popular that the Conservatives now claim it was their idea all along.

He said he thought that that legacy of the coalition years would be safe, but was horrified at the budget:

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Coalition minister calls for minimum wage increase (that’s Vince, 4 months ago, in case you were wondering)

Here’s the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable on 14 September 2013:

vince min wage - sept 2013

And here’s the Tories’ George Osborne – four months later – on 10 January 2014:

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Vince Cable nails Labour’s crass and inaccurate attacks on Lib Dems’ support for the minimum wage

Sometimes you’ll hear Labour folk claim, with absolute certainty, that the Lib Dems opposed the introduction of the minimum wage in 1998. They’re wrong, as a glance at the voting record shows not a single Lib Dem MP voted against and 26 voted in favour.

Today Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves, upped the ante, demanding to know:

where was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable)? He was nowhere to be seen in the debates. He was nowhere to be seen on the voting record. On Second Reading and Third Reading, he failed to vote. Apparently, he abstained because he had reservations about a minimum wage. Perhaps he will stand up today to profess his concern for the plight of the low-paid.

Vince didn’t respond directly immediately. But he did respond:

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Brian Paddick writes… A seat in the House of Lords

When Nick called me to ask if I would be a Peer, he said, amongst other things, that it was time I had my own political platform. So that got me thinking about what my political platform might look like. Here are some initial thoughts.

I know we are in Coalition with them but I can find few redeeming features in Tory economics. Of course work should pay more than benefits but have benefits really have reduced to the level where families have to resort to food banks? Are those with disabilities having to give up independent living and are families …

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Jo Swinson to name and shame rogue employers who fail to pay minimum wage

Jo Swinson was featured widely in the media yesterday talking about her plan to tackle employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage.

The BIS website outlines the plan:

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal. If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action.

This is why I’m making changes so it is easier to name and shame employers who break the law. This gives a clear warning to rogue employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences as well as a fine if they

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Vince Cable, One Direction, and a minimum wage rise for apprentices

There was a significant amount of chortling in LDV Towers over the Telegraph’s report of Vince Cable’s comments about One Direction’s earnings. One member of our team even suggested photoshopping his head onto this photo of the boy band wearing onesies.  Mercifully, copyright and lack of photoshopping skills on my part spares you that sight.

Vince thought he was being asked about, I presume, a director’s £5 million salary, which he described as “mad”, “downright immoral” and “grossly offensive”.  It would be hardly surprising that he would take that view given his actions to curb executive pay. He added, …

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Vince increases the minimum wage. It’s the right decision, but we do need to get local about it.

This was the Mirror (and many other news outlets) two weeks ago:

Minimum wage cut fears: Fury as Government considers ‘kicking’ low-paid workers

The reality? The Government has accepted the independent Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase both the adult and youth National Minimum Wage rates. The BBC reports:

Minimum wage to increase to £6.31

To be clear, the 1.9% increase is below the expected rate of inflation — so this is a real-terms cut. The increase is, however, higher than either public sector workers or those on benefits will receive. The only recommendation of the Low Pay Commission that was rejected …

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