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A slow climb for the National Minimum Wage

By James McCrory

Wednesday 4 March 2015 Student Journalists

The Low Pay Commission (LPC), an independent body that advises the government on the country's national minimum wage, has recommended that there be a 3 per cent rise, reports NUS Journalist James McCrory. That would mean that the majority of workers in Britain would, for all their hard work and contribution to the economy, receive a whopping pay rise of, wait for it, 20 pence.

On the face of it all it is hard to complain about a pay rise no matter how maximal or minimal the amount is. One might think that but I’ll give it a go anyway.

The fact of the matter is that George Osborne announced in January of last year that if it had kept pace with the rate of inflation the minimum wage would, in 2015, be £7. This would be the second above-inflation increase in succession and would take the real value of the minimum wage above the level when the coalition took office in 2010.

To me it seems that the conditions for which this rise to a £7-an-hour rate to come to fruition are most definitely there but for some reason the LPC are only advising a rise of 20p. Cheaper fuel and lower energy prices have brought inflation to a record low so why on earth wouldn’t the LPC run with the Chancellor's suggestions. It’s not hard to see why they are called the Low Pay Commission.

The most worrying aspect of the whole thing is that this 20p rise by the LPC is only a recommendation and there is every chance that the government may reject this proposal. Some people may think that this argument isn’t worthwhile as it is only 30p difference between the LPC’s recommendation and the Chancellor's suggestion last year. It is a matter of principal as the MP’s of this country are set to receive a substantial pay increase this year putting most of them on a yearly salary of £74,000 so I really don’t think a minimum wage of £7 an hour is too much to ask for.

The working people of Britain that are earning minimum wage contribute more to the economy through payment of taxes than most big companies do. That comes as no surprise, however, as the majority of big companies filter their revenue through corrupt pipelines into offshore accounts, avoiding the heavy tax costs they are legally and morally obligated to pay, while their ground force staff – those on minimum wage – pay their taxes and contribute to the economy. Ironic isn’t it.

What about the idea of a national maximum wage, especially for public servants like MP’s, which would put a cap on how much individuals being paid by the taxpayer can earn. Think of the incredible amount of taxpayer money that could be saved and pumped back into the economy.


NUS journalist for work in the lead up to the 2015 general election. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am currently a student studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford in Manchester. I studied Broadcast Journalism for two years at Belfast Metropolitan College where I attained a level 5, Higher National Diploma in the subject.

I have had work published for the Salfordian, NUS and various student publications in Belfast. I have had experience working with UTV in Ireland and the BBC and I was also the Vice Chairperson of the Royal Television Society (RTS) Futures programme. I aspire now and in the future to be an activist journalist, never short of an opinion on a range of historic and contemporary issues.