Ed Milliband is currently trying to entice the lowest paid in society to vote Labour in 2015. No doubt he will have realised that in Scotland many Labour voters rejected Labours coalition with the Tories for a no vote in Labour strong holds across Scotland.
To this end Labour are now promising the lowest paid workers ( well if you’re over 21 that is) a minimum wage of £8 per hour by 2020.
However don’t be fooled into this policy without looking at the numbers.
The living wage is something that as a society we should all be striving to promote every employer paying. It’s currently set at £7.65 an hour – £1.15 greater than the minimum wage. So just what would it look like in 2020? During the last year it increased by 2.5%. This of course in times of continued austerity promoted by Labour and the Tories at Westminster. However if it continued to rise at this pessimistic figure in 2020 the living wage would be £8.87. A more optimistic rise of an average of 3.25% would have the living wage at £9.27.
The minimum wage of course if rising at the same rate as the living wage would be between £7.54-£8.
So a potential minimum wage of £8 anyway but a living wage £1.27 higher at £9.27. That means the living wage and the minimum wage will be even further apart than they are today.
Therefore when Labour offer you £8 an hour in 2020 they’re actually offering you nothing. A minimum wage would potentially be that anyway but what they are advocating is the gap getting wider for the poorest in society as they become even further detached from those getting paid the living wage….which should be the minimum wage anyway!
The only way to close the gap and prove that there is a better way in Scotland is by giving the Scottish parliament the powers it needs to set these key fiscal policies.