National Minimum Wage

Part of Opposition Day — [6th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 12:41 pm on 15th October 2014.

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Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 12:41 pm, 15th October 2014

My hon. Friend makes a very good point and it makes me reflect on the 2010 general election. In the polling districts covering the most deprived estates in the two most deprived wards in my constituencyBrixton Hill and Tulse Hill, which were most impacted by our introduction of the national minimum wage—the turnout was more than 70%, and sometimes 80%. That is because the people on estates such as the Tulse Hill estate had been directly impacted by our introduction of the national minimum wage: it helped to reduce poverty in those areas. My hon. Friend is absolutely right.

Mr Campbell talked about tax and thresholds. The Minister has said that, in addition to thinking about the national minimum wage, we should consider the impact of tax on the low paid. I agree. That is why we will introduce a starting rate of tax of 10%, paid for by abolishing the Government’s ill-conceived married couples allowance.

The Minister will no doubt refer to the increases to the personal allowance—[Interruption.] I thought that might provoke a reaction. I will give way to Alec Shelbrooke in a moment. I am sure the Minister will no doubt refer to the increases in this Parliament to the personal allowance to seek to show that he “gets it”, as my hon. Friend Mr Winnick mentioned. I doubt, however, that the Minister will mention the fact that any benefit the low paid derived from the increase in the personal allowance was wiped out by the Government’s hike in VAT and the benefit and tax reductions that we have seen for working people in this Parliament.