With the advent of the new financial year, the minimum wage for all workers has risen, with the National Living Wage reaching £8.21 per hour for over 25s, which represents an increase of 4.9%. Although a wage increase for those at the bottom will come as welcome news initially, its positive effects will not be felt.
Council Tax will have risen for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people across the UK, as local authorities struggle to deliver services in the fact of rampant ideological cuts by the Conservative Party under the false banner of ‘necessary austerity’. The TV licence fee has risen again this year, and Ofgem has raised the cap for increases to energy costs, meaning that the average family will be paying £117 more than last year on gas and electricity.
Even without these increases, the ‘National Living Wage’ – a term co-opted by the Conservative Party from the Real Living Wage Foundation, is not fit for purpose and does not cover the cost of living. This organisation calculates the cost of living in different regions, and has published its findings, arguing that £10.50 and £9 per hour in London and outside of London respectively is the minimum amount to cover living costs. Furthermore, I stand with TUC (Trade Union Congress), in calling for an end to separate pay rates for 21-24 years-olds. Gas, electricity, water and TV licences are no cheaper for them, so why should they earn less?
Workers need fair pay for their labour, and that pay needs to cover the costs of living. At the moment it does not, and that is why we need a Government that serves the many, rather than the privileged few.