TUC calls for pathway to £15 an hour minimum wage

A new TUC report outlines how the minimum wage could be raised to £15 an hour over time.

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The TUC has set out a path to raising the minimum wage for all workers to £15 an hour and is calling on the government to work with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to deliver it.

Its new report says the government should set a new minimum wage target at 75 per cent of median hourly pay so that the UK can return to “normal wage growth”. The current minimum wage for those 23 and over is £9.50 – with lower rates for those who are younger.

The TUC is calling for all workers – regardless of age – to be eligible for the same minimum wage, removing the current lower rates for young workers. It says the minimum wage uprating should be brought forward to October – and increased at least by inflation – as opposed to April next year when the uprating was due.

Since the minimum wage was first introduced, its level as a proportion of the median wage has increased over time – starting at 47 per cent in 1999 and now heading to 66 per cent by 2024. The TUC says the 75 per cent goal is the next logical step to building a high-wage economy.

The union body says the LPC should be tasked with charting the exact path to £15 – adding that the model provides “a safe mechanism” for establishing evidence around how high we can push the minimum wage.

Each year the LPC makes a recommendation based on prevailing economic conditions, with an eye on achieving the upcoming target. The commission assesses any risks and can recommend an “emergency brake” if it believes the target needs to be delayed.

The TUC says that to get to a £15 minimum wage,  hourly median pay of approximately £20 an hour would need to be delivered. Median wages are currently £14.85. It has also set out recommendations on changes to issues such as skills and training, corporate governance reform and industrial and trade policies that it says would be needed to move towards the long-term £15 an hour target.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living.

“But millions of low-paid workers live wage packet to wage packet, struggling to get by – and they are now being pushed to the brink by eye-watering bills and soaring prices.

“For too long workers have been told that businesses can’t afford to pay them more. But again and again the evidence has shown that firms are still making profits and increasing jobs – we can afford higher wages. And higher wages are good for the economy – more money in the pockets of working people means more spend on our high streets.

“It’s time to put an end to low-pay Britain. Let’s get wages rising in every corner of the country and get on the pathway to a £15 per hour minimum wage.”

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