Debate House Prices


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Are the minimum wage increases enough?

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  • baileysbattlebus
    baileysbattlebus Posts: 1,443 Forumite
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    The lowest skilled jobs are always going to be the lowest paid.

    If you increase their rates then you have to increase everybody elses or there's no incentive to move up the ladder.

    That increases prices and inflation - you'll then be asking for even more increases for lower paid.

    Keep doing this and the whole economy becomes uncompetitive resulting in mass unemployment. I suggest (if you haven't) that you try running a business with all the red tape - see how easy it is.

    Minimum rates have been increased at above inflation for the last several years.

    Before you spout on any further about paying decent wages remember that many industries are competing with cheap imports. If people are prepared to pay premium prices for UK manufactured goods then ok better wages can be paid - unfortunately most people are not.


    So are you suggesting that workers here should work for less than subsistance wages then? Or at least in the manufacturing sector, to be given the extra to make a living wage from the taxpayer, that seems to be what you are saying.

    In the early part of this century - I forget exactly when but around 1910 wages councils were introduced in this country and they looked after the interest and income of the lowest paid sectors in society - shopworkers, hairdressers, careworkers, hotel workers, catering, clothing manufacturing, etc. We had them until the mid 1990's - although they were eroded through the 1980's. The Tories got rid of them for the health of the economy. People would price themselves into jobs, they said.

    When they were abolished the government thought that wages would stay pretty much the same - but within 2 months 25% jobs were being advertised at over 30p per hour on average less than the previous minimum. 2.5 million people were at the mercy of the freemarket.

    The free marketers have always said that a minimum wage reduced the number of jobs in much the same way that a shop selling apples at a higher price will sell less apples. Except that isn't what happened, there was no real increase in the number of jobs - low paying employers employing low paid workers increased profits, not jobs.

    The abolition of the wages councils did not increase the number of jobs and the introduction of the minimum wage did not decrease the number of jobs, or perhaps even impact poverty that greatly, but it probably eliminated some of the gravest injustices.

    One unexpected out come of the abolition was that people in higher paid jobs also saw their wages fall - one effect of a minimum wage was to increase pay for more skilled or senior staff to keep pay differentials.

    Perhaps history will repeat itself.
  • dopester
    dopester Posts: 4,890 Forumite
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    One unexpected out come of the abolition was that people in higher paid jobs also saw their wages fall - one effect of a minimum wage was to increase pay for more skilled or senior staff to keep pay differentials.

    Perhaps history will repeat itself.

    As I suspected. The other way around.

    One unexpected outcome of the minimum wage was that people in higher-grade (public-sector jobs especially), got massive pay increases.

    So yes, I believe what you write, as the real pressures are on those pay-levels above. People earning £30K, £40K - £100K for some fancy title, or being paid well beyond their actual market value.
  • dopester
    dopester Posts: 4,890 Forumite
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    Such as so many execs in the BBC earning over £100K a year. Or in all of the many layers of the expanded public sector.

    If it is a consequence of scrapping the minimum wage, then it needs to come, as they are paid too much. Feasted too much on pay beyond what they were actually worth.
  • baileysbattlebus
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    dopester wrote: »
    Opportunity still existed. There was no ceiling stopping people getting better educated, night-courses, learning a better paid skill.

    Rents were lower. House prices were a lot lower. Cost of living lower.

    People had lots of opportunity to earn more than a basic living wage.

    That's always assuming some members of society are able on an intellectual level able to do this. Not everyone is academically able to improve their lot. Some will be able to and no doubt will, but others will not.
  • StevieJ
    StevieJ Posts: 20,174 Forumite
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    That's always assuming some members of society are able on an intellectual level able to do this. Not everyone is academically able to improve their lot. Some will be able to and no doubt will, but others will not.

    As you said earlier the minimum wage is there to protect the more vulnerable in our society from being ruthlessly exploited.
    'Just think for a moment what a prospect that is. A single market without barriers visible or invisible giving you direct and unhindered access to the purchasing power of over 300 million of the worlds wealthiest and most prosperous people' Margaret Thatcher
  • Entertainer
    Entertainer Posts: 617 Forumite
    edited 14 May 2009 at 2:16AM
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    I agree with everything you've said - people on minimum wage need pay rises for more than the better off. Having known people on pitifully low wages before the introduction of the minimum wage, I whole heartedly agree with it.

    I also remember the hue and cry from businesses large and small and the party now in opposition saying it would cripple business - it hasn't and nor will it.

    I think I heard today that "tips" will no longer be able to be classed as pay - another good thing - if people provide good service that money shouldn't be deducted from their wages, or rather the customers shouldn't have to pay the wages of the staff directly. They get taxed on tips as it is.

    I just hope the next shower to be in power don't abolish it - as I understand they want to - could be wrong there though.

    Christopher Chope put forward a bill in February - wanting people to be able to opt out of the minimum wage. His wife is paid by the tax payer - she is on his payroll - I wonder if he pays her less than minimum wage.

    The Conservatives dropped their opposition to the minimum wage ten years ago so, yes, you are.
  • technik_2
    technik_2 Posts: 38 Forumite
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    for a minimum wage worker doing 37 hours a week this represents what... about £10 a month?
  • FoxtonsRIP
    FoxtonsRIP Posts: 323 Forumite
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    There's no point in allowing employers to pay less than £5 per hour or whatever. Because we, the taxpayers, end up topping up the slave wage with tax credits, council tax benefit, etc.
  • baileysbattlebus
    baileysbattlebus Posts: 1,443 Forumite
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    The Conservatives dropped their opposition to the minimum wage ten years ago so, yes, you are.

    Did they? Or did they aquiesce because they had to.

    The bill won't get through the HoC tomorrow - but in the future who knows.

    Apparently minimum wage breaches the Human Rights Act in not allowing someone to work for less than minimum wage. It will allow empoyees to opt of the minimum wage - mentions nothing about employers though.
    On Friday 15 May, MPs will debate the second reading of a private members bill that would effectively kill of the National Minimum Wage. The bill, introduced by Tory MP Chrisptopher Chope, who as a minister in Thatcher's government introduced the Poll Tax, has the potential to render existing legislation which guarantees a fair wage meaningless and drive millions of workers back to poverty pay.
  • Old_Slaphead
    Old_Slaphead Posts: 2,748 Forumite
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    Out of interest, and this post is not meant to be antagonistic in any way, does anyone know details of any full time paying minimum rate.
    If so -
    a) what does the job entail
    b) what part of the country are they located
    c) what is the average wage rate for that area
    d) what is the next step up the ladder for the jobholder (qualifications or experience).

    In my experience part of the problem with low wages is that often increases in earnings affects social security benefits. Many of the lower paid are not prepared to accept more responsibility, work overtime etc when any extra pay is compensated by a reduction in state support.
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