Led by Alan Buckle
The value of the National Minimum Wage has declined by five per cent since 2010 and the number of people paid less than the Living Wage has risen to more than five million – up 1.4 million in just the last four years. The worsening problem of low pay is hurting British families, businesses and taxpayers – contributing to a cost of living crisis and making it harder to build a One Nation economy in which everyone has a stake and prosperity is fairly shared.
Low pay forces people to work around the clock just to pay the bills, often working two or more jobs, and spending less time with their families at home. There is growing evidence that businesses can benefit from raising the wages of their lowest paid workers through improved recruitment, retention, morale and productivity. And better pay means higher tax and national insurance revenues for the Treasury as well as making us less reliant on benefits and tax credits to tackle poverty.
The National Minimum Wage was a great Labour policy and the Low Pay Commission has been highly effective at boosting pay at the bottom without leading to a loss of jobs while sustaining a successful social partnership. But the Minimum Wage needs to rise faster than it has in the recent past in order to catch up with where it was in 2010. If the minimum wage had increased in line with inflation over this period low paid workers would be earning almost £20 a week more than they are now. And there is also evidence that the minimum wage puts little pressure on some sectors that could afford to pay more.
Ed Miliband has been a key supporter of the Living Wage Campaign led by businesses, unions, community organisations and the Living Wage Foundation. He has said that a Living Wage should be the foundation of the One Nation economy we need to build, avoiding a race-to-the-bottom and instead creating the high skill, high value economy which is competitive on the global stage. Rachel Reeves has been working with Labour local councils, and from Lewisham to Lincoln, Oxford to Glasgow, increasing numbers of Labour local authorities are paying and promoting the Living Wage. We need central government to play its part too - doing everything in its power to promote the living wage and helping to overcome the barriers facing businesses that want to pay it.
So Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves have asked Alan Buckle, former Deputy Chairman at KPMG, to investigate the problem of low pay and look at how government can strengthen the minimum wage and encourage and support more employers to pay the Living Wage.
Download the call for evidence below and, if you wish to make a submission, you can do so using the form to the right or by email to LowPayReview@Labour.org.uk.