Ain't no minimum high enough: minimum wage policy in the 2019 General Election

Document type
Cominetti, Nye
Resolution Foundation
Date of publication
18 November 2019
Social Policy, Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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Both main parties offer bold plans for the future of the minimum wage. The Conservatives want to increase it to a level that would ‘end low pay’, while Labour want to increase it to the level of the real living wage (the voluntary wage set on the basis of the cost of living).

This briefing compares the two parties’ policies. It shows that both plans are ambitions, with dividing lines in terms of how quickly the minimum is to be pushed upwards, and in the treatment of young workers. Political ambition brings both benefits and risks. The risks are familiar, go too far too fast and it might start to affect jobs, but the benefits are significant too. This briefing estimates that the post-2016 increases in the adult rate have already added £3 billion to low earners’ pay packets. The task for the next Government is therefore to increase the minimum wage in such a way that builds on these benefits, while managing the risk.

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