Tag Archives: minimum wage

A fairer share for all – Part Four – Improving working life and skills and investing in local services

This is the fourth and final part of my looking at the consultation paper, A Fairer Share for All. In part three I have set out my thoughts on the work allowance thresholds.

Turning to minimum wages, I believe we need to have regional minimum wages set at 70% of each region’s medium earnings. In 2020 the National Living Wage will be 60% of medium earnings. I believe that it would take about 7 years to increase the regional rates to 70% as some may have to start below 60%.

We should have a policy of providing free training or a guaranteed job to everyone who has been unemployed for more than 6 months. This should be voluntary. The training should be in an area where there are unfilled jobs within a reasonable travelling distance of the claimant. The guaranteed job should be so that the person keeps their skills up to date and not just to give them a job to do.

The paper states, “A 2016 government estimate that 51% of rural households do not have access to a bus route, compared with 4% of urban dwellers. At the same time, 30% of bus journeys outside London are undertaken by those with elderly or concessionary passes”. It also says that “it is now vital to ensure that traditional bus and rail links within and between our smaller towns and rural areas are properly funded to enable everyone to access services and employment opportunities”. However, the paper doesn’t set out that we should increase funding to local government so they can run rural bus services or that we should provide more rail links between towns. It doesn’t even say we should be building better rail links across northern England between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

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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:

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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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What’s happened to real wages over the last 25 years?

This little presentation from the Office of National Statistics has the answer. It’s packed full of interesting information, presented in a very clear manner:

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Opinion: Taking minimum wage work out of tax would deliver the Living Wage

With greater ambition, the Liberal Democrats’ policy of increasing the personal allowance would equalise the Living Wage and the minimum wage, without risking jobs.

It was announced yesterday that the national ‘Living Wage’ for 2013/14 will be £7.45. This compares to the National Minimum Wage of £6.19. Boris Johnson has urged more companies to adopt the Living Wage, and Labour are even considering giving tax incentives for firms to pay the Living Wage.

Few would argue with the benefits of higher pay for employees, or with other Living Wage benefits such as lower staff turnover. But evidently most employers …

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Opinion: “Capitalism is a great success story.” Really, Nick?

On Monday, Nick Clegg gave a speech on responsible capitalism. This was his first real foray into the debate since it has erupted as a major talking point, even though we as a party have been arguing the need to reform capitalism before it was cool.

Before criticising capitalism, he praised it by saying this:

Capitalism may be today’s political punchbag, but let’s take a long view: it’s one of history’s great success stories. No other human innovation has driven progress  and raised living standards so consistently. Markets catalyse ideas, invention and experimentation. When they work well, they are meritocratic and

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Opinion: low-paying companies should contribute to the welfare pot

In these straitened times it is very tempting to look at trying to reduce the benefits bill. A lot of attention is focussed on benefits paid to people who – for whatever reason – are out of work. However, I think we should also look at the benefits paid to people in work and whether it is right that they should be claiming benefits at all.

Fear not, this is not a proposal likely to be supported by the Daily Telegraph. It is more about attacking the principle of low pay. The coalition government – thanks to …

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Opinion: will the Minimum Wage have to be reduced or dispensed with?

Although it must be hoped the Coalition is successful in reducing the nation’s deficit through savings and is able to increase economic activity to provide increased tax income, the unexpectedly high borrowing last month does not stimulate confidence.

There is no doubt the Coalition is creating an environment more conducive to business activity and small businesses, which require little finance, will find niches in the market to be able to flourish. However, with the banks still reluctant to lend and the giant corporations having grabbed so many of the business opportunities – it will be only the most inventive and …

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