Labour hopeful criticised over ‘radical’ National Living Wage pledge

Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith has promised to raise the national living wage if he becomes Prime Minister - for all employees over the age of 18.

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith is facing backlash from the convenience sector, after pledging to raise the national living wage for all adults in the UK.

Under the current Government, only those aged 25 or over are entitled to the new, higher, national living wage. Smith’s proposals would boost the £7.20 living wage to £8.25, an hourly rate that employers would be obliged to pay staff of all ages.

He is also planning to overhaul the Low Pay Commission, transforming it into a Living Wage Delivery Unit, which would close loopholes in wage laws.

"As the next Labour prime minister, I would introduce radical plans to deliver the biggest increase in living standards in a generation," Smith said.

Responding to the announcement, James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said that more consideration was required when setting new wage levels.

“The national living wage and national minimum wage affect thousands of businesses and employees, and they should be set based on a dispassionate assessment of all the economic, social and business factors, rather than being a political football,” he explained.

“Unfortunately the current Government has politicised this issue and greatly limited the powers of the independent Low Pay Commission, and it is not surprising that other political leaders are now quoting suggested minimum pay rates.”

Owen SmithPictures: Owen Smith 2016 Facebook account


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