Owen Smith unveils ‘real living wage’ of £8.25 in boost for five million workers

Labour candidate pledges £1,900 pay rise if elected Prime Minister


Owen Smith will today pledge a ‘real living wage’ for British workers, promising ‘the biggest increase in living standards in a generation’.

The Labour leadership hopeful, speaking at a campaign event, will say if elected Prime Minister he would raise the minimum wage of £7.20 to a living wage of £8.25, the amount recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

This boost would apply to adult workers under 25, ‘ending the discrimination’ of the current rates, whereby under-25s receive as little as £3.87.

The increase would amount to an extra £1,911 for workers over 25, £2,821 for workers aged 21 to 25, and £5,369 for workers aged 18 to 20.

The Resolution Foundation estimates this could improve pay for as many as five million people.

Other policy announcements include:

– turning the Low Pay Commission into a ‘Living Wage Delivery Unit’ that would recommend pay rises and stop companies dodging the living wage by cutting perks like overtime.

– a new ‘High Pay Commission’ to force mandatory reporting of the pay ratio between workers and management for private sector companies that deliver public services, such as Capita and G4S.

Smith will also outline what he calls a ‘revolution in workers’ rights’, with some policies already announced, such as repealing the Trade Unions Act, scrapping employment tribunal fees and banning zero hour contracts.

Owen Smith is expected to say:

‘For the last six years British workers have experienced a perfect Tory storm of falling wages, the watering down of workers’ rights and cruel cuts to social security – resulting in the sharpest fall in living standards ever recorded for low paid British workers.

In the face of this onslaught, what’s desperately needed is not more slogans, but a clear plan of action which offers solutions.

So as the next Labour Prime Minister, I would introduce radical plans to deliver the biggest increase in living standards in a generation.’

He will add:

‘I am committed to delivering a real living wage for everyone over the age of eighteen – ending the discrimination of those under 25, increasing support for low-paid workers through our social security system – cruelly slashed by the Tories – and delivering a revolution in workers’ rights to give people a strong voice at work.’

On Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, laid out policy on tackling BHS-style corporate greed and boosting workers’ rights, including for migrants.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Owen Smith is no ‘Blairite’. His policies are egalitarian and Left-wing

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