Amid everything else that has been happening last week, we’ve had the publication of alarming figures on child poverty. Those figures show that there are 200,000 more children in the country living in poverty.
70% of the (almost) 4M children living in poverty are living in households where people are working. So, this is not just about benefits, it’s also about what people are paid.
Many families who have been switched over the Universal Credit are struggling. I pledge support for a higher minimum wage and proper support for families in work.
None of us should be comfortable with a situation where child poverty is rising in this country.
Today is 20th anniversary of the Low Pay Commission which was set up by the Labour Government to establish the minimum wage rates. Before the Minimum Wage it was legal to advertise jobs paying just £1 or £2 an hour. Critics predicted a minimum wage would destroy jobs but they were wrong.At first it covered just 600,000 workers. Now it covers 2 million workers, most of them women.The rate is now £8.21 an hour. The Low Pay Commission estimates that for the lowest paid 1% of workers in full time jobs, the minimum wage means they get paid £5,000 a year more than they would if it had not been introduced.The Minimum Wage is one of the most important labour market changes in recent decades. It put a floor of decency under wages and today it benefits around 2 million workers. Having a minimum wage has meant the pay of the lowest paid workers has risen faster than average pay since it was introduced. The problem of low pay has certainly not been resolved and I know a lot of people still struggle to make ends meet, but its introduction was a huge step forward and something the whole country should value.
Posted by Pat McFadden on Monday, April 1, 2019