Our esteemed chancellor Gideon “George” Osbourne had decided that a raise in the minimum wage would be ‘self defeating’. For these lowest paid workers, and I am one of them, it would be very welcome to have a bit more cash as the cost of food, travel and everything else keeps going up. The minimum wage currently sits at £6.31 for over 21s and less for younger workers. Speaking from experience I was only able to not stress about when and how I was going to pay bills was when I was working 50 odd hours a week on that wage. I worked in a hotel where things were very seasonal so I would only get this for about six weeks in the summer and around Christmas if I worked the usual 10 hour shift on Christmas day. The fact that I had Amy work at all, of course, made me one of the lucky ones and didn’t I know it around this time every year when things went very quiet for a good couple of months.
The fact that it will do the low-paid workers won’t convince Osbourne of anything so let me put this another way and show how it could help put money in his treasury. If you increase the minimum wage by 50p as has been proposed it would be £6.81 and earning this money would raise some above the tax threshold and generate money for the economy. People would have a little extra to spend and if they did so they would be paying VAT on most things that they buy and this again would go to George Osbourne. The biggest change would be that there would be far less than people in work needing benefits. Contrary to what you may have heard Jobseekers allowance is one of the smallest benefit bills at 4.91 billion a year. If we put in place the living wage of £7.65 (£8.80 in London) then that would ensure that everyone working should be have the minimum needed to live and would cut the benefits bill by even more.
It seems simple enough and a way to help both the treasury and the lowest paid people in society.