Labour, low pay and immigration – and a double standard that must be addressed

In an article in the Independent, Ed Miliband has set out proposals for ensuring that the use of illegal immigrant labour, often paid far below minimum wage, is not allowed to bid down pay and employment prospects for all.  He writes: Instead, we will reform an economy hard-wired into a cycle of low wages, low […]

Why are we angrier about immigration than workfare?

You could be forgiven for thinking that the end of restrictions of movement on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals within the EU from 1 January is the most important thing happening in Britain right now.  It has certainly caused a frenzy of political and media comment, much of it pure speculation fuelled by some frankly idiotic […]

Alan Milburn’s social mobility report: a case for a basic income?

The  Government will publish today a report prepared by former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn into social mobility.  It’s widely trailed that it will make sobering reading for the coalition:   In particular, it is likely to highlight the fact that the biggest victims of austerity economics are the working poor – something we really […]

The great Tory tax con: why raising tax thresholds won’t help the squeezed middle

It has become increasingly clear that the Conservative Party intends to fight the next election on a promise of a substantial increase in the threshold above which income tax becomes payable – possibly matching the Liberal Democrat pledge of £12,500.  This will be presented as taking many of the lowest-paid in society out of tax […]

Low Pay Britain: a devastating report

The Resolution Foundation has today  published Low Pay Britain 2013 – a devastating report on how pay in Britain has changed in recent years.  In summary it shows that: the number of people in work earning less than a living wage has risen from 3.4 million in 2009 to 4.8 million in April 2012.  Inflation-adjusted median […]

Ed Miliband’s tax break for living wage plan – an exercise in missing the point

Ed Miliband has proposed tax breaks to encourage employers to offer a living wage, according to reports in this morning’s Guardian.  Labour, it is argued, wants to reduce the benefits bill by encouraging employers to pay higher wages.  The shadow Treasury team is reported to be considering options. The aims are laudible – better pay, a real […]