Well done Miliband, it’s a start.
But, why isn’t Labour talking in terms of a living wage when calculating the level of the minimum wage? Most people on minimum wage struggle greatly to survive. Even by government’s own reckoning the minimum wage is insufficient. This is why people working full time are forced to claim tax credits and housing benefit in order just to live.
By pitching the minimum wage so low we end up subsidising bad employers. Therefore allowing scab companies who turn a profit and pay their shareholders a dividend and board of directors obscene bonuses to abuse the tax payer.
In most areas of public spending we hear the Tories defend the hard done by tax payer. The welfare state is being dismantled because we’re spending too much of hard earned tax payers’ money on public services.
The NHS is being sold off because, again, too much valuable public taxes are being thrown into the service; and the private sector can do the job more efficiently. Just remember that’s how they sold off our national rail system; and look at how much more that is costing today in both fares and public subsidy.
The other area that sees tax payers’ pounds being syphoned off to the bank accounts of Tory landlords is housing benefit. As rents in some areas of the country outstrip take home pay more working people are reduced to claiming HB. Yet we don’t hear howls of righteous indignation coming from the government benches as they denounce vampire landlords’ excessive rent demands.
Of course this Tory-led public-schoolboy packed government doesn’t cry ‘Foul!’ in the direction of scum employers and vampire landlords. They are after all their own kind.
However, Labour has no excuse. Labour could bring in rent controls. Such a measure tied to a programme of building a million council homes would put an end to the crazy cost of renting in areas of the country; and create thousands of decently paid jobs in construction.
Raising the minimum wage to at least £9ph (or even £10ph) along with the housing policy would take hundreds of thousands of workers out of the benefits trap. Our hard earned taxes could then go back into the welfare state and serve the many; not into off shore bank accounts that serve the few.