During last week’s PM questions Mrs May was wagging her finger at Jeremy Corbyn as she said, “We’ve seen the introduction of the living wage – never done by Labour”.
This taunt had to be the most hypocritical, arrogant and misleading statement I have ever heard.
So let’s look at the facts. When Labour proposed a ‘National Minimum Wage’, scrapping the low wage councils, the Tories spoke against the idea most vehemently. One Tory MP even boasted that he paid his workers 88p per hour!
Despite the Tories voting against the NMW ‘en bloc’ Labour brought this into law in 1999.
So May would have us believe the Tories have ‘replaced’ the National Minimum Wage (which they voted against) with their own version and re-branded it the ‘National Living Wage’
Nothing is further from the truth. The NMW still exists with Tories fighting to keep it as low as possible, BUT they have added a new tier for over 25’s giving only them an extra 45p. That leaves over 6,000,000 people working on LESS than the Tory so-called Living wage!! AND they have quietly dropped the £9 by 2020 promise in favour of a 60% of average hourly rate.
I remember the huge grin on Ian Duncan Smith’s face as he shouted “fantastic” at the announcement by George Osborne, even having voted against Labour’s minimum wage in 1999. He must be ecstatic now they have quietly dropped the £9 by 2020 promise.
So the ‘Living Wage’ is merely a re-branding of a Labour policy, the National Minimum Wage. Methinks she should use the Labour manifesto more often!!
They even stole the title from Loughborough University who first used the phrase, and the Living Wage commission.
“The voluntary living wage adopted by thousands of employers throughout the UK is set at a level based on the Centre for Research in Social Policy’s Minimum Income Standard. Accredited Living Wage Employers must currently pay £8.45 an hour outside London and £9.75 in London, to help enable workers to reach a minimum acceptable living standard.”
Despite hijacking the term the tories abused the privilege by setting it at a low £7.20, and bragging about the 4% rise to £7.50 in April this year – 95p lower than what is now being called the real living wage.
All this reminds me of Tory assurances that the NHS is safe in their hands, in the belief that the British people have forgotten their bitter opposition and voting against it’s inception during the 1945 Labour Government.
Historically it seems that you can always rely on a Tory to deceive. No wonder they get in such a mess.