Since 2010 the Government have increased the Minimum Wage despite inheriting the worst recession in a century. We have also created over a million new jobs and cut the income tax and tax threshholds of low paid workers. I could go on about the doubling of apprenticeships and the focus on skills for young workers but I want to applaud the decision to address minimum wage avoidance.
Anyone entitled to the national minimum wage should receive it. Paying anything less than this is unacceptable, illegal and will be punished by law. So we are bringing in tougher financial penalties to crackdown on those who do not play by the rules. Subject to Parliamentary approval, by February 2014 employers who do not pay their workers the national minimum wage will face an increased penalty of up to £20,000.
The national minimum wage plays an important role in supporting low-paid hardworking people. Enforcing it is a key to ensuring those who play by the rules and do the right thing are treated fairly.
If I am able to I will be speaking on the issue later today in the House, and our campaign to get North East employers to pay a North East Living Wage continues.