Terms and Conditions of Employment: Minimum Wage

The shadow Minister refers to small increases in the minimum wage. An increase of 38p in the national minimum wage is now being introduced. Can she tell the House in how many of the 10 years after the introduction of the national minimum wage the Labour Government made a bigger increase than the 38p that workers will see under this increase?


Chi Onwurah (Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy))

When we introduced the national minimum wage, it was a transformative change for the pay of so many low-paid people, and our commitment to a real living wage of £10 an hour will also be transformative for working people.

Research by the Living Wage Foundation, which the hon. Gentleman might be interested in, revealed that one in five workers—more than 5 million people—are paid less than the living wage, which is a huge increase from 3.4 million in 2009. In Newcastle, 30% of workers who live there and 20% of those who work there are paid less than the real living wage. In the north-east, around 238,000 jobs are not paid the living wage. I am therefore particularly proud that, despite having its budget halved by reckless Tory austerity over the past decade, in January Newcastle City Council renewed its commitment to pay all staff the real living wage. After a decade of imposing austerity, this Government will still not give workers a real living wage. Will the Minister tell me why the Government will not follow Newcastle City Council’s example and raise the minimum wage to a real living wage?

The Minister said that she does not represent the Department for Work and Pensions, but she does represent the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which is not paying the London living wage to all its staff. Will the Minister confirm the number of employees who are not receiving the London living wage? Will she explain how we can have confidence in her ability to enforce even the national minimum wage when her own staff are striking due to the lack of a decent wage from the Government of the day?