Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to raise the national minimum wage to £8.00 an hour has made waves, with one pundit labelling the move as “[throwing] down the gauntlet to the Conservative Party on low pay”. But, as Breitbart London understands, the pledge is less ambitious than the rise due to be enacted by this Conservative-led government over its time in power.
Miliband has come out strongly this weekend on the promise that if Labour wins the general election next year, they will increase the minimum wage to £8.00 an hour by 2020. In interviews with both the Observer and Andrew Marr he pushed the pledge as a flagship policy for Labour ahead of the next election, telling the paper “Every working person creates the wealth but so many people in our country think: ‘Well, I do all the hours, I make my contribution but nobody cares about me, this country doesn’t work for me’ – and we are going to change that.”
“Too many people think nobody really thinks about these issues any more, and I am going to make absolutely sure that people know after this week that we do care about these issues and we are going to do something about them.”
Also, on the Andrew Marr show yesterday morning he reiterated his promise, saying “we’ve got to write the next chapter in the battle against low pay and that is what the next Labour Government is going to do. And, look, this is a comparison of two plans. The Tories have a plan for the privileged few in our country. We have a plan for Britain’s future, for everyday working people. That is the election choice.”
However, Breitbart London’s analysis of the figures reveal some problems in Mr Miliband’s sums:
When the current government came to power in May 2010 the national minimum wage rate for adults over the age of 21 was £5.80 per hour. In October 2010, by now under the control of Conservative Chacellor George Osborne, it was increased to £5.93 per hour. In January this year, Osborne revealed in an interview with Andrew Marr that his intention was to raise the rate to £7.00 an hour for adults. If he does so, he will have enacted a rate increase of £1.07 per hour over five years, an average rise of 21.4 pence per year.
Comparatively, if Labour enacts a rise to £8.00 per hour by 2020 they will have put up the rate by £1.00 over five years, an increase of just 20 pence per year.
The claim, as it stands, is that Labour will have put the rate up by £1.50 per hour, but that depends on the base line being taken from 1st October 2014 – within the lifetime of this government. In effect, Labour are “throwing down the gauntlet” by continuing with, and politically capitalising on Conservative Party spending plans.
Even if we do accept Labour’s figures, a rate rise of £1.50 over six years equates to a rise of just 25 pence per year. Hardly a ground-breaking, gauntlet-throwing, flagship kind of figure.