Labour will today (15th January 2014) force a debate on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) after it emerged that, despite Government promises, not a single firm has been named and shamed for not paying.
This year sees the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the National Minimum Wage. In November 2013, Ed Miliband announced that a future Labour government would introduce ‘make work pay’ contracts to incentivise firms to pay the living wage. Alan Buckle, former Deputy Chairman of KPMG is leading a review for Labour on how the NMW can be strengthened and its value restored, including looking at extending the role and powers of the Low Pay Commission.
“This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of National Minimum Wage – one of Labour’s great policy successes, it boosted pay at the bottom without leading to a loss of jobs, and has wide industry support as a result. The Tories and many Lib Dem MPs bitterly opposed the introduction of the minimum wage legislation and low pay has got worse under this Government.
“For all their rhetoric the Tory-led Government is completely failing to properly enforce the NMW with only two prosecutions in four years. This is despite evidence that as many as 300,000 people in the UK earn less than the NMW.
“Families are on average £1,600 a year worse off since David Cameron took office in 2010 and the value of the minimum wage has declined by almost 5% under his watch. In my constituency alone, the average weekly pay has declined by £116.93 since 2010 – the pressure on family finances is unprecedented.
“That is why we are demanding that the government takes action to restore the value of the National Minimum Wage and does more to encourage employers to pay a living wage. We are also calling for a tenfold increase in penalties for rogue companies that don’t pay employees the minimum wage and more effective enforcement, including by giving local authorities new powers.”