The real living wage and the UK Government’s enhanced minimum wage for over 25s.

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley this week spoke in a debate on the Government’s ‘national living wage’.

The debate focussed on reports that employers are mitigating the cost of the new rate by cutting hours, premium rates for overtime and bank holidays.

Angela also highlighted ‘real living wage’ employers in Lanark and Hamilton East, including the Hamilton Citizen Advice Bureau, Blue Bird Care and the Lanark Medical Centre.

During the debate, Angela said:

“I want to recognise that the idea of a living wage sounds positive.

“In fact, it sounds like a boost for people on low incomes. Who would argue with an increase to the living wage or to any wage? However, the fact is that this is not a living wage.

“Let us be clear: the real living wage, as defined by the Living Wage Foundation, takes into account living costs, whereas this Government’s so-called living wage is calculated on median earnings and completely fails to take into account the cost of living.

“This proposal does not meet the mark. Sadly, this does not even apply to those under 25.

“Once again, the Government know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Commenting after the debate, Angela said:

“The real living wage is £8.25 per hour, the Government’s proposal raises the minimum wage to £7.20 for over 25’s.

“The Chancellor tried to pull the wool over the public’s eyes on this, but he has been found wanting.

“The Government’s policy is not a living wage, it’s an enhanced minimum wage that disgracefully discriminates against the under 25’s.

“It flies in the face of our commitment to ensure everyone earns an affordable wage – that those under 25 as well as those over 25 are rewarded for their work, not punished by an arbitrary line in the sand.

“This policy acts a barrier to our long term aspiration that the real Living Wage becomes the norm across the board.