Paul Blomfield MP

A strong voice for Sheffield Central

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Challenging Iain Duncan Smith on low pay

Tuesday 3rd November 2015 - Nearly one in four people in Sheffield earn below the living wage and yesterday I pressed the Government to do more to boost pay.

The living wage, the voluntary rate set by the Living Wage Foundation, yesterday increased to £8.35 an hour, which is over £1 an hour more than the Government’s own recently-invented bogus ‘national living wage’.

In the Commons I challenged Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith and said: “Nearly one in four jobs in Sheffield pay less than the living wage, on the day it’s increased to £8.25 an hour. Will the Secretary of State congratulate the Living Wage Foundation on their work and outline what he’ll do to ensure more people are paid the real living wage, which is now over £1 an hour more than the Government’s bogus ‘national living wage’?”

In the Summer Budget the Government, unveiled their own so-called ‘national living wage’, starting at £7.20 an hour in April and rising to £9 an hour by 2020. However, the Living Wage Foundation have pointed out that it is significantly different from their real living wage – the real living wage is determined by the cost of living, which will be undermined by tax credit cuts, and crucially the Government rate doesn’t apply to 2 million under-25s.

The Government agreed with the Trade Unions Congress when they said that Britain needed a pay rise. But what the Government has offered is totally inadequate and completely undermined by their massive tax credit cuts. It’s shameful that nearly one in four people in Sheffield earn less than the living wage. The Government’s claim that they are introducing a living wage is fantasy.

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