Labour policy announcement on raising National Minimum Wage - JRF response

In response to Ed Miliband’s policy announcement that Labour would raise the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by 2020, Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

"In-work poverty is becoming a huge problem for UK society and it is right for it to be central to the political agenda. With 6.7 million people in poverty living in a household where someone works, we know that the National Minimum Wage falls well short of the amount people need to achieve an adequate standard of living in the UK. A minimum wage that prevents workers from making ends meet is bad for them, for the economy and for society. Our economy will never achieve its full potential with so many people working but unable to make ends meet.

“Of course we welcome the promise made by Ed Miliband today to raise the minimum wage, it is good to see the issue finally getting the attention it deserves. However, people are going to need to see much more from Labour if they are to be convinced that the party can really made in-roads into ending poverty. It is about more than just pay, policies are needed to tackle the high cost of childcare and housing, a dearth of quality part-time jobs and better progression for low-paid workers.

"Addressing low pay is an important first step in reducing the UK’s in-work poverty problem, though we need to the see political parties deliver at party conference season is a comprehensive strategy to reduce poverty across the UK."