British minister minimum wage must rise further to lift living standards


LONDON: British Business Secretary Vince Cable said in an interview published on Friday that he will press a government commission to raise the minimum wage to ensure it is keeping up with the cost of living.

Cable believes the minimum hourly rate, which will rise to 6.31 pounds ($10.01) for those aged 21 and over from Oct. 1, has fallen in real terms by up to 12 percent since the 2008
financial crisis.

“We cannot go on forever in a low pay and low productivity world in which all we can say to workers is, ‘You have got to take a wage cut to keep your job,'” Cable told The Guardian in
an interview published on its website Friday.

“For a very long time, five or six years, wages have been suppressed in low wage sectors. I am sending a signal that we are entering a very different environment.”

Cable hopes the increases would come into force over the next two to four years with Britain’s minimum wage first introduced at 3.60 pounds ($5.71)an hour in 1999.

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