If you are interested in following the proceedings in the House of Commons yesterday on the National Minimum Wage debate tabled by the Labour Party the Hansard account starts here.
Labour's spox on business Chuka Umunna reiterated the known position on the living wage:
We recognise it is very challenging for employers to pay a living wage, so we would not impose it on them by having a statutory living wage. Instead, a future Labour Government will encourage employers to pay the living wage through new “make work pay” contracts. Firms that sign up to becoming living wage employers in the first year of the next Parliament will benefit from a 12-month tax rebate of up to £1,000, and an average of £445, for every low-paid worker who gets a pay rise. This will help firms towards a higher-productivity, higher-wage model. The measure will be funded entirely from the increased tax and national insurance revenue received by the Treasury when employees receive higher wages. Additional savings in lower tax credits and benefit payments, as well as increased tax revenues in future years, will cut social security bills and help pay down the deficit. Not just ensuring people are in work but that they get a decent salary when they are working, is the most effective way to reduce the social security bill.
All very worthy, but as I wrote yesterday, the time has come to address the unwilling in business who are quite content for government to subsidise wages. It is those businesses that should be labelled scroungers, not people in work on poverty wages. Labour party branches, constituency parties and affiliated trade unions should be demanding action now.