The National Living Wage will come into force in April. The National Living Wage is a bold step announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his post-Election budget last July.
At the time he said; “Britain deserves a pay rise and this one-nation government is making sure it gets one, helping more people have the security of a higher wage to provide for themselves and their families.”
I am delighted that this Conservative Government has taken this step. We live in an area that has many low paying jobs. The average wage in our constituency is well below the national average. This has been a long-standing issue and one that I am keen to address. There are many measures that we can take, including attracting higher paying jobs to the area. But this takes time, and the National Living Wage is an obvious first step that will bring immediate help to many people.
Alongside the introduction of the National Living Wage, the Chancellor also increased the personal allowance to £11,500 per person from 5th April 2017. This means that we can all earn £11,500 that will be free of income tax. It also means that much of the increase in wage packets enjoyed in April and thereafter will be tax free.
The Conservative One Nation Government wants to improve people’s aspirations, to make work pay and to tackle the causes of poverty. I believe that the National Living Wage works towards that goal.
The Living Wage from 1st April will be set at £7.20 per hour. Anyone currently aged over 25 and earning the National Minimum Wage of £6.70 per hour will move to the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, a pay rise of some 8% or 50p per hour. For people with a full time job this could mean an increase in wages of around £900. The Chancellor has a goal of increasing this wage floor to £9.00 per hour by 2020.
It is worth taking a step back and considering the wider picture. The Conservative Government inherited a system where a large number of people in work were paid low wages that were supplemented by tax credits. The Chancellor is aiming to shift this so that employers pay people a fair wage without the need for the tax credit supplement.
The Chancellor also mitigated the impact of the rise in salary bills for small businesses by increasing the Employment Allowance from £2,000 to £3,000 and by increasing small business rate relief.
Employees on the Minimum Wage have a healthy pay rise to look forward to, and additional money going into people’s pockets and our local economy can only be a good thing. I am proud that the Conservative Government has been able to deliver this important measure.
For more information on the Living Wage please go to www.livingwage.gov.uk where you will find a helpful calculator and some additional guidance.
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