Green Party says Labour is 'playing catch-up' by announcing their 2014 £10 an hour minimum wage policy

Louis Dor
Monday 10 April 2017 14:15
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Picture:(Getty)

On Monday, Jeremy Corbyn outlined Labour's new policy commitment to raising the legal minimum wage to at least £10 an hour by 2020.

Speaking at a visit to living wage employer Luton FC, Corbyn said:

Low pay blights the lives of huge and growing numbers in our country and fuels widening inequality. The government’s re-branding of the minimum wage to the national living wage hasn’t dealt with the real problems of low pay and rising cost of living.

That’s why Labour will raise the legal minimum wage for all to at least £10 an hour by 2020, giving more than five and a half million people a pay rise in the process.

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Labour’s Real Living Wage will immediately boost the incomes and opportunities of more than 20 per cent of the workforce, especially in sectors such as retail, care and hospitality.

We know that where work pays, living standards rise and reliance on benefits falls. This is the right thing to do and a Labour government will be committed to rebalancing our economy so that no one and no community is left behind.

John McDonnell, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, said:

Only Labour will take the action needed to end the Tories' economic failure and introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020.

This is a curious line, as the policy isn't a new one.

The Green Party already called for a £10 minimum wage by 2020 in the run up to the 2015 general election.

The policy was announced by then-leader Natalie Bennett on the eve of their party conference, 5 September 2014.

Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party economy and finance spokesperson, told indy100:

I am pleased that the Green Party 2015 manifesto is forming the basis of Labour’s policy review. But as Labour play catch-up, Greens are surging ahead and now exploring whether we need an even higher minimum wage, which for Greens must be linked to a living wage.

The Living Wage Foundation has calculated a wage that is enough to live on is already £9.75 per hour for London, so it is likely we will need to be even more ambitious.

She continued:

I look forward to the next exciting Labour policy announcement. Perhaps making the highest wage in any organisation no more than ten times the lowest wage, to help address the horrendous levels of inequality? They can find that on page 46 of our 2015 manifesto.

I also want to see the Government reconsider its bogus National Living Wage which, with a shamefully low rate of £7.20 an hour, is clearly far short of what people really need to survive.

If we are going to keep up with the rapidly changing world of work and provide people with the security they need then we need to seriously consider bold new policies. We should be investigating the case for a basic income, a non means tested payment to all citizens, to give workers a real safety net and reward unpaid work.

Presumably tired of the Conservative party using their best manifesto points, Labour have employed the "If you can't beat them..." mantra.

Labour's press office declined to comment.

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