In Living Wage Week, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald says, “A basic entitlement has to be a household income that covers their cost of living. Everyone has to have enough to live on.
“One of Labour’s greatest achievements was to introduce the National Minimum Wage in 1998. It had been Labour Party Policy for a decade of more but we had to be returned to power in order to implement it and we kept our promise.
“On returning to power in 2020 a Labour Government will write a Real Living Wage into law. Everyone will be able to earn enough to live on,
“Last year, the now ex-Chancellor George Osborne tried to steal Labour’s clothes with the National Living Wage. It was a step in the right direction but still not enough to live on. We need a REAL Living Wage in this country.
“However, it is a policy that cannot stand by itself. It is also necessary to tackle the issues that impact on the cost of living such as rising rent, fuel and food costs and at the same time provide protection against unscrupulous employers who put profit before their workforce and their social responsibilities towards our communities.
“Labour also wants to end to wage stagnation, arrest the decline in wages since the banking crisis in 2008 and the longest fall in wages since World War 2. Labour will invest in our economy to create sustainable, properly paid jobs that put an end to poverty – particularly in-work poverty – to allow people to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
“Our policy to introduce a REAL Living Wage will be achieved by establishing an Independent Living Wage Review body to provide an independent economic calculation based on the cost of living and adjusted for inflation.
“I expect that to be in excess of £10.00 per hour in 2020 in line with current estimates – boosting the poorest 10% of households’ income by 6%, helping those in the poorest paid sectors and tackle pay inequality in our poorest regions, particularly for women workers.
“Of course, there is likely to be a need for some employer support and also a regulatory body to ensure employers comply and pay proper wages while putting an end to the undercutting of wages which disadvantages our indigenous workforce. A Labour Government will fix those things.
“A Real Living Wage is, though, just one aspect of our plan to tackle low pay and will be introduced in tandem with an industrial strategy to transform Britain into a high-skill, high-productivity, high-wage & sustainable modern economy by boosting investment, Research & Development, supporting manufacturing and foundation industries while at the same time nurturing the industries of the future.
“In the end, it comes down to what kind of society we want to live in. Is it the kind of society that values everyone and treats everyone fairly or, in the alternative, a society that favours the wealthy at the expense of the majority of British people?
“These are the choices facing us now. Living Wage Week is a beacon that signals our intention to end tory austerity and provide a vision for the future under a Labour Government committed to help people in very real ways”.