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Departmental Pay: Living Wage

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities) 11:30 am, 19th January 2016

How many staff in his Department earn less than £7.85 per hour.

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities)

I thank the Minister for that answer, but does she not agree that it is important to pay the real living wage, which is £9.40 an hour in London and £8.25 in the rest of the United Kingdom? It is paid by the Scottish Government and by more than 400 employers in Scotland, so it is fair to all employees, particularly those under 25.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I am glad the hon. Lady welcomes the fact that, from April this year, all employees in the United Kingdom who are over 25 will receive a significant pay rise. That is thanks to the strength of employment throughout the United Kingdom, which in turn is thanks to our long-term economic plan.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak Conservative, Richmond (Yorks)

According to my calculations, someone who earns £7.85 an hour today will benefit from rises in the personal tax allowance and the national living wage, and, by the end of this

Parliament, will be more than £1,500 better off. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that proves that this Government are committed to making work pay?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. In fact, it has been stated that not only will 2.5 million people benefit directly from the change in the national living wage in April, but up to 6 million whose salaries are very close to that hourly rate will benefit as well.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

When will the Chancellor, and in particular the Minister, give public sector workers a decent pay rise that reflects some of the jobs that they do for us?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

We believe that every worker in the country will benefit from the change in the national living wage, which is an important part of the long-term economic plan, but, as the hon. Gentleman will know, this year public sector workers received pay rises that were above inflation.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

The Minister has made important comments about the principle of making work pay. Will she give further consideration to extending the married couples’ tax allowance, so that more families can keep more of what they earn?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I will take that as a Budget submission.