Regular readers will know that I have long campaigned for a voluntary living wage and an enhanced minimum wage.
I am pleased that as the economy recovers the ability to address the minimum wage becomes ever more likely. Yesterday my colleague at Treasury, the minister Sajid Javid said there is a ‘strong case to look at’ raising the minimum wage, joining Matt Hancock's long campaign support on this issue; this is an issue that even right wingers have changed upon. For example, on Newsnight Mark Reckless, the right-wing Tory MP told the programme that he had been wrong to oppose it previously and that it would be a good thing:
‘I would 10 years ago have said no to [an increase in the minimum wage] for the same reason I opposed it, which is because I was concerned it was going to cost jobs. I think the evidence has not borne that out as much as was fit and I think two very important things have changed, and that is one it would actually save the taxpayers’ money because of the extent to which the taxpayer is topping up low wages through tax credits.’
I will continue to make the case to the Chancellor that this is something he is now able to do in the next Budget, as the economy recovers, and in harmony with the ever increasing voluntary sign up to the Living Wage.