I am backing plans announced by Labour to strengthen the national minimum wage to ensure that people in Leigh who do a hard day’s work are rewarded for doing so.
Those on the lowest pay are at the sharpest end of the cost-of-living crisis. Families are on average £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron became Prime Minister and the value of the national minimum wage has declined by five per cent over the same period.
That’s why in September last year Labour asked Alan Buckle, former Deputy Chairman at KPMG, to investigate how to strengthen the minimum wage.
The report, published today, argues for a new framework to ensure that the minimum wage rises faster over the next five years than it has in the recent past, as part of a national mission to tackle low pay and build a new economy with more high skill, high paid jobs.
The report recommends that the next Labour Government should set the Low Pay Commission a five-year target to increase the minimum wage to a more stretching proportion of median earnings.
I’m proud that the last Labour government introduced the National Minimum Wage. This boosted pay for millions at the bottom without leading to a loss of jobs and now I can’t imagine a Britain without it.
But the issues we face today are different to those we faced at the end of the 1990s. That’s why I believe we need to strengthen the national minimum wage so that local people on low pay are properly rewarded for the work they do.
Bringing the increase in the minimum wage closer to median earnings over a five-year period will help us build an economy that works for everyone and not just a few at the top.