From the TUC

Conservatives – time to embrace the minimum wage

16 Oct 2008, by in Economics, Labour market, Society & Welfare, Working Life

A recent story in the Sunday Mirror reported that a senior Tory said that the minimum wage could be “allowed to wither on the vine”.

Is the story true? Well, it certainly a tactic that has been pursued  by Republican presidents in the USA. The story has not been rebutted by the Conservative Party, and the policy statements on their website do indicate that they plan to create more jobs by removing “red tape”.

However, do let me know if there is anything that should lead us to be more optimistic about Conservative plans for the minimum wage and employment legislation in general, as I want to be scrupulously fair.

Would the Conservative approach work? On the most important point, we are all keen to ensure that there will be sufficient jobs in the economy, but it defies belief to think that the UK’s current problems are caused by over-regulation. The absolute reverse is true in the finance sector, and when it comes to employment, the problem now is clearly falling consumer demand, not over-regulation. Trying to create employment by cutting regulation would be like pushing at Keynes’ piece of string – a very ineffective prescription indeed.

In terms of how political parties are perceived, perhaps I could just venture the opinion say that it seems to me that the Conservatives are really missing a trick here. surely one of their key goals must be to get away from the “Nasty Party” image, and that aim is not helped at all by letting it be known that they are thinking about freezing the minimum wage.

So come on Conservatives, its time to really embrace the minimum wage. Why not make a clear statement that you intend to keep the Low Pay Commission and take its independent advice on the level of the minimum wage? Its the right thing to do and it would be popular as well.