Real Living Wage

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

If he will make it his policy to introduce the real living wage across all Government Departments and to seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We are addressing this issue through the application of the statutory national minimum wage and the national living wage. This is based on the advice of the Low Pay Commission. From April, the national living wage will rise again—from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour—handing a full-time worker a further £690 annual pay rise.

Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

This Government like to talk about employment levels, but they stay silent on the fact that many people are now struggling with in-work poverty, which is rising among working parents in particular. Does this Minister believe that his kid-on living wage is more effective at tackling in-work poverty than the real living wage promoted by the Living Wage Foundation?

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The hon. Lady is absolutely correct: we do continue to talk about employment, because 2 million jobs have been created under this Government. On the point about the national living wage, we were of course the first Government actually to introduce a national living wage. The aim is that that will rise to 60% of median income by 2020, and it is actually rising faster than the real living wage.

Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords)

Everyone in the country knows that the Government’s pretendy living wage is not the same as the real living wage. It pays an awful lot less, and it excludes millions of younger workers. At this season of good will, will the Government not commit to making it their policy next year to seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation and show leadership in the country in taking on low pay?

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I think the hon. Gentleman is a little dismissive of the national living wage, which, since it was introduced, has led to a pay rise for people on the lowest incomes of almost £3,000 a year. It is rising faster than his proposal, and it will reach 60% of median income by 2020. Post that, we will look again at further increases.