Labour will increase the minimum wage to £10 if the party wins the 2020 general election, Jeremy Corbyn said today (April 11).
The Labour leader promised “a real living wage” of “at least” £10 per hour in 2020 if the party gains power.
Currently the national minimum wage is £7.50 and is expected to rise to £8.75 by 2020 under the government’s so-called “living wage” policy.
Labour’s pledge, first announced at the party’s conference last year, also includes workers aged 21 to 24, who at present are not entitled to the full minimum wage.
Speaking in Luton, Corbyn said, “The government’s rebranding of the minimum wage to the national living wage hasn’t dealt with the real problems of low pay and rising cost of living.
“That’s why Labour will raise the legal minimum wage for all to at least £10 an hour by 2020, giving more than 5.5m people a pay rise in the process.
“Labour’s real living wage will immediately boost the incomes and opportunities of more than 20 per cent of the workforce, especially in sectors such as retail, care and hospitality.
“We know that where work pays, living standards rise and reliance on benefits falls. This is the right thing to do, and a Labour government will be committed to rebalancing our economy so that no one and no community are left behind.”
TUC general secretary, Francis O’Grady, welcomed the announcement and called on the government to raise the minimum wage to £10 “as soon as possible” to head off a deepening cost of living crisis.
She said, “With rising inflation and slower wage growth, a new living standards crisis is on the horizon.
“The minimum wage needs a serious boost in the coming years, and the TUC believes it should reach £10 an hour as soon as possible. This should be for all workers, instead of the current raw deal that gives young workers a lower rate.”
Unite assistant general secretary, Steve Turner, said raising the minimum wage to £10 would be a good first step in helping working people maintain a decent quality of life, but that more action is also needed.
“Workers have suffered the longest squeeze in living standards in recorded history in recent years, thanks to the actions of this government and its predecessor,” Turner said.
“An increase in the minimum wage to £10 would benefit those on the lowest wages and is one of a number of measures that need to be enacted to prevent the economy and peoples’ living standards from plummeting. These include ending the freeze on working age benefits and the real cuts to public sector pay.
“Most importantly of all, we need public investment to create jobs and stimulate the economy and an end to the Tories’ counter-productive reign of austerity.”
Current rates for the voluntary Living Wage are £9.75 in London and £8.45 throughout the rest of the UK.