The government is messing low paid workers around for political capital

It's a shame the government has to mess around millions of low paid workers for a relatively small amount of political capital.

Something strange is going on.

Usually, when the Low Pay Commission recommends an increase in the national minimum wage (NMW), the full report is published along with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (DBIS) decision to accept or reject the recommendation.

This time around, however, things have taken a different course, suggesting internal tensions between Number 10, the Treasury and DBIS over the NMW announcement.

On February 27, the Low Pay Commission published the executive summary of its 2014 report and an accompanying letter to the business secretary Vince Cable. In it it set out its recommendation that the adult rate of the NMW should be increased by 3 per cent to £6.50 an hour from 1 October 2014.

Yet this was not followed by an official annoucement as to whether the recommendations would be accepted by the government or not.

Likewise, in David Cameron’s speech at the Manufacturing Technology Centre on Tuesday the PM said he “look[ed] forward to accepting this recommendation”.

Yet still the government has declined to make a formal acceptance of the recommendation (despite reports like this one in the press).

Now why could this possibly be?

Well, it looks as if the government is hoping for several media bites of the cherry on its trumpeted rise in the NMW, presumably culminating in an official announcement by George Osborne in the Budget later this month.

The rise should be welcomed of course; but it’s a shame the government has to mess around millions of low paid workers for a relatively small amount of political capital.

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