>In amongst fratricidal leadership trauma and bashing the Coalition Government (which I suppose you’d expect of a Party in opposition – we were hardly complimentary about Labour when they were in power), Labour have been trumpeting this wonderful new policy of a Living Wage. They’ve decided that they weren’t paying public sector workers enough when they were in power and now they’re in opposition they should be paid a minimum of £7 per hour.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of the lower paid having more money, but aren’t we already doing pretty much everything Labour plans to do? And that’s a big Liberal Democrat win, because you wouldn’t find the Tories doing that on their own.
It’s very dangerous to let me loose with numbers, but roughly this is what I’ve worked out:
We’ve already raised the tax threshold by £1000 to start next April. That will give people roughly £20 a week extra.
Raising the minimum wage by £1.07 per hour. That’ll give a full time employee around £40 extra a week, but then you have to take about 30% of that off in tax and NI, so they’ll have around £28 extra a week.
And wouldn’t part time workers, like the dinner lady Ed Miliband was talking about yesterday, be taken out of tax completely under our plans?
George Osborne has stated that the Coalition intends to keep raising the tax threshold as far as possible towards £10,000. Just one more raise would give people cumulatively an extra £40 per week.
The other thing is, as I was reminded by my husband who is pretty close to retirement, that our way helps those on low incomes who don’t have a job. And Labour always insisted on having a lower minimum wage for young people so they wouldn’t benefit as much. Under our plan, everyone benefits equally.
So both plans would make people better off – but the Liberal Democrats in Government are already responsible for ensuring that people are on the way to being paid a living wage.