Fresh from lambasting the Tories policy vacuum - and their backbench MPs' attempts to remove the national minimum wage in our previous blog, the Government has now showed what value it attaches to the minimum wage . . . as little as 4p.
The Government has announced the National Minimum Wage rates that will apply from October 2009. The adult minimum wage will go up by 7p, for 18-21s up by 6p and for under 18s just 4p.
John McDonnell rightly condemned this as "derisory". John, LEAP Chair, said:
"This is a derisory increase which will leave many in poverty and do nothing to address the grotesque inequalities in our society.
"Bankers are still walking off with massive bonuses and salaries, while low paid workers remain on the edge of poverty."
Bob Crow said, "We have seen today that while MPs and MEPs have been lining their pockets at the tax payers expense there has been a massive increase in unemployment and the minimum wage, under pressure from the bosses, has been increased by a pathetic 7 pence an hour. It's no wonder people are so angry with the political elite."
As Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, said: "It is hardly going to help low-paid workers pay the bills".
Indeed, based on a 37.5 hour week, the new NMW rates equate to just £11,310 (over 21); £9,418.50 (18-21); or a paltry £6,961.50. They are a disgrace.
By contrast, the London living wage introduced by Ken Livingstone and supported by Boris Johnson equates to £14,527.50.
Thu 14 May update: John McDonnell MP, and other Campaign Group MPs have tabled EDM 1482 'National Minimum Wage Uprating' calling for an end to age discrimination in the NMW and for future increases to be above inflation and average earnings increases.