One of my photos

Work for peanuts

February 12th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 35 Comments · Politics

Apparently a group of Tory MPs are gathered in support of Christopher Chope’s 10 minute rule bill to, effectively, abolish the minimum wage.  I find this absolutely breathtaking.  It is wrapped up in some euphemism about ‘increasing employment opportunities’, but it boils down to allowing employers to pay as little as they can get away with.Oh, he says it is all voluntary. Yeah, right!  As soon as you allow opt outs the whole scheme falls apart.  Employers will take on the lowest bidder when filling a job.  If somebody is willing to ‘voluntarily’ take two quid an hour you won’t get a look-in.  I have seen the same thing with the opt out clause of the European working hours directives, where a company sends every employee a copy of the opt-out form, with unsubtle hints that not ‘voluntarily’ signing it makes you somehow less secure.

The best ever comment on minimum wages came from the comedian Robin Williams, back when minimum wage was an Americanism that we didn’t have over here.  He said that when a company pay minimum wage it is their way of saying we would pay you less if only we were allowed to.

This is not how it is meant to be.  The Tories are supposed to be pretending to be nice until enough people fall for it and vote them in.  As soon as that happens, then they are allowed to drop the mask and start dismantling all the protections for ordinary workers and families that have been created in the last ten years.  They are not supposed to show their true intentions until then, and Christopher Chope is not sticking to their game plan here.

Makes you wonder what other things they have set their sights on.

This Chope has an extra job as a director of a company because he feels that an MP’s salary is insufficient, and yet he can’t see why your average shop worker should be so greedy as to insist on £11,918 a year for working 40-hour weeks…

Incidentally, Chope claims that the TUC support this, which I find hard to believe.    Maybe I should check on Wikipedia: I’m sure there has been enough time for CCHQ to insert the necessary cobblers to back up the claim.

(hat-tip to Mike Ion over at Labourhome)

Tags: ··

35 Comments so far ↓

  • Ash

    LOL – dont ya just love the hypocrisy of Labour waffling on about protecting peoples wages.

    This from a party that has spent the last 10 years throwing the borders open so that British workers can be undercut by foreign labour.

    How does it go? ‘British jobs for British workers’

    give me a break…

  • Ash

    I have just read the 10 minute rule bill – did you Skud’s?

    Chope makes the interesting point that if you do a 40 hour week on the minimum wage – the government (you know – your lot) take £1,887 in tax and national insurance, thereby effectively reducing their take-home pay to £4.82 an hour instead of the £5.73 that it is supposed to be.

    So if the government think that the minimum wage should be £4.82 an hour rather than the supposed £5.73, why shouldn’t an employer?

    • Skuds

      Of course I read it. A waste of parliamentary time.

      The national minimum wage is, of course, a figure for gross earnings, as all wages/salary figures are. You don’t see job adverts boasting of salaries of “£25,000 after tax” do you? (Granted that some of the more dubious opportunities will talk of ‘potential take-home pay’ )

      Many people earning minimum wage or thereabouts will probably have family tax credit or some other tax credit anyway – although personally I favour a large increase in the basic tax allowance threshold instead to make everything simpler, take a load of people out of the tax system and let the taxman concentrate his resources on the higher-level avoiders and evaders..

  • skud's sister

    Ash, some people are dumb enough to post stuff without reading it but I don’t think Skuds falls into that category…. If you work for £5.73ph, or even £4.82, or if you work with people who do then you may come close to the right to approve this proposed bill. What you seem to doing here is putting the rights of the employer over those of the employee – although maybe we should encourage this kind of talk since the electorate has so many more employees than employers….
    The discussion within the proposed bill regarding voluntary pay-cuts is also very dodgy. Those who have cut their pay by 10% are very unlikely to be on £5.73ph so, even after a cut, they will not be trying to live on minimum wage. And it would also be interesting to know what proportion of those minimum wage work anywhere near 40 hours a week? £5.73 an hour doesn’t go far if you only work 15 hours a week (at which point much less is lost on tax and NI….). Still, good close reading of ‘How to Lie with Statistics’ there….

  • hiro

    Lets face it Ash is just dumb!
    On £4.82 they will still get taxed so they get even less …Dumb Dumb.

    Don’t you just love the right wing, xenophobic idiots who name blame everything on migrant workers. So no British person has ever gone to work in another EU country!!!

    Damn those tour reps in Spain etc.

    Ash is probably blaming Labour for the recent snow….No not the stuff under his beloved Cameron and Osbourne’s nostrils!!

  • Ash

    Thats what I love about Labour supporters like Hiro – when they do not have a coherant argument they just throw around personal insults.

    Shows the level of their intellect I suppose.

    Instead of personally attacking other people why not try and answer the point raised – if £5.73 is supposed to be the minimum amount needed why does the government then tax it down to £4.82?

  • hiro

    Ash you are such a hypocrite and stupid by falling into my trap….elsewhere you think it justified to call the PM “McCavity” as an insult.

    Physician heal thy self….?

    We all must or should pay tax…otherwise the country would not run. Reduce it further to £4.82 means even less take home for the worker.

    • Ash

      “Reduce it further to £4.82 means even less take home for the worker.”

      Er try and understand – they take home £4.82 NOW!

      That is all the government think they should get. So if the government think that paying £4.82 is quite enough why not allow employers to pay the same rate?

      • Hiro

        Doh….because pay them that rate (£4.82) and they get taxed at that so they take home even less….please do try to be less dense!!

  • Ash

    “Doh….because pay them that rate (£4.82) and they get taxed at that so they take home even less….”

    and that is why Tax credit rises for them – you dont seem to know much about the welfare system. Perhaps if you stopped insulting other posters a bit and actually looked at the system you might be better informed.

    As is doesn’t really matter at the end of the day whether the low paid are on £5.73 or £4.82 – their total income from wages and tax credits minus tax means they take home the same amount, I am left with the impression that all this faux outrage from you and Skuds about protecting the low paid is no more than protecting the tax income of the government.

    Which is no great surprise from members of the Labour Party

    • Hiro

      So why does the welfare system have to pay that and in effect the other tax payers so that employers pay less…who makes here…employers!!! Who loses tax payers. Yes want to protect tax revenue because that pays for the infrastructure of the country and increases here means losses elsewhere.

      Oh and by the way I am not nor have I ever been a member of the “Labour Party”

      But what I would expect from a Pecksniff.

  • Ash

    Hiro – have you ever tried to have an adult conversation with somebody who holds an alternative point of view without insulting them?

    One of the reasons why less tax on companies might be a good idea is to enable them to compete better in the world economy.

    If we had more competitive companies in the country we might not have to get the Japanese to build trains for us — just a thought.

  • Hiro

    There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
    When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
    Saying `Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
    We must find him or the train can’t start.’
    All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster’s daughters
    They are searching high and low,
    Saying `Skimble where is Skimble for unless he’s very nimble
    Then the Night Mail just can’t go.’

    argumentum ad hominem

    Oh bring on those sweat shops…that would make us more competetive!

  • Ash

    No country ever taxed it’s way to prosperity – but I’ve no doubt that will not stop you trying.

  • skud's sister

    All ignoring the fact that the low paid are usually not full time workers……

    Still, ‘pecksniff’ is an excellent insult. (And I’m not a member of any party – just a tax-paying voter…)

  • Danivon

    The fact that Japan has a minimum wage which is roughly the same as ours appears to have passed our darling Ash by as well.

    • Skuds

      An interesting little fact, although I am always just a little dubious of comparisons of different countries. Its a bit like the Bible – whatever your own point of view you can always find an example of another country to support.

  • Danivon

    I was addressing the fact that Ash considered us to be less competitive than Japan, I didn’t pull the country out of nowhere.

    If we are less competitive, it is not likely to be due to the minimum wage, if theirs is at a comparable level. I suspect it is more likely to be a history of continual investment and long term planning at corporate level, rather than what some UK companies appear to do, which is consider the current year’s profits and not much more.

    While government policies have an effect, the prevailing business culture does also.

  • Ash

    Danivon – as usual you have totally missed the point.

    This whinge-fest by Hiro and Skuds has nothing to do with the minimum wage and protecting the low paid, and everything to do (as Hiro has already admitted) with increasing tax take for the government.

    As for measuring our competitiveness with Japan – well as Macavity claimed that getting the Japanese to build our new trains will create jobs (although not necceasarily in the UK) so who am I to argue… the Unions and Labour MP’s in areas that will lose jobs are doing enough of that.

  • hiro

    Ash…how sweet did the Daily Mail once call our PM McCavity and now you think it a jolly wheeze to carry on name calling. Still in Nazi Germany it began with the anti-locution (See Allports scale) so all I would expect from a member of the BNP.

  • Ash

    Hiro – give it a rest and stop showing your ignorance.

    A member of the Lib-Dems started with the Macavity reference and it was taken up by a senior member of the government. So if you get your news from the Daily Mail then it is not surprising that you are behind the curve.

    And calling people who have different opinions from yourself a members of the BNP is pretty sad even for you.

  • hiro

    Easy to make assumptions…you assumed I was a member of the Labour party…Appology accepted.

    • hiro

      I am sorry too Ash…you are probably to0 much to the right of Attila The Hun to be allowed membership of the BNP.

      National Front maybe?

  • Danivon

    Sorry Ash, I was referring to the original post, which was about a bunch of Tory MPs trying to reduce the minimum wage. It was you, not Skuds, that started whinging about tax.

    As most people on the minimum wage – particularly if the household income is generally low – are getting tax credits, it is _not_ about tax. If this proposal were to go through, tax credits and benefits would increase to make up the difference in lower wages, and so what actually happens is that the taxpayer is further subsidising low paying employers.

    I’m sure you will look forward to paying that particular bill, as long as it keeps the proles from ideas above their station, eh?

  • Ash

    Danivon – as you agree that this proposal has nothing to do with cutting income for those on the lowest wage perhaps you might explain it to Skuds. – he is obviously of the opinion that this is going to harm the income of those on low pay.

    A somewhat interesting lack of knowledge about the subject from somebody who is trying to get elected.

    danivon – as you point out the taxpayer already subsidise the low paid through the myriad of welfare initiatives, so the issue is only about tax and about whether the cost should be a direct burden on industry or and indirect burden through national taxation.

    • Danivon

      You incorrectly assume that I agree with you, which is the first mistake in your comment.

      From my reading of Chope’s statements, he is suggesting a race to the bottom. The ‘freedom’ to take a paycut is a fallacy – people only take a pay cut under duress. Those who can least afford to do that are the lower paid. Also, the lower end of the scale is the point at which we really need to see disposable incomes increase, rather than decrease, in order to stimulate the economy.

      • Ash

        But nobody would be taking a ‘paycut’ – unless you count the government who wouldn’t get as much tax in.

        By lowering costs on the employer you make him more able to compete – your view that the UK can tax its way to prosperity is mistaken in IMHO.

        I do agree that we need to see disposable incomes increase – perhaps restricting unskilled immigration which the government has used to keep pay low might be an idea? – after all even some in your own party think it time that happened.

        • Danivon

          They would get a paycut, because Tax Credits are graduated (so if you get a pay rise, your TC’s go down, but not the full amount of the rise – similarly if they fall, TCs go up, but not by the full amount of the fall).

          I don’t think we can ‘tax ourselves to prosperity’. I think we are, however, better off using the government means of borrowing to stimulate the economy and to preserve incomes as much as possible.

          If companies can’t cope with the minimum wage (with the falling value of the £, it becomes more competitive anyway), it’s because their financial model is not working. The main factors there are not wages, but demand and the difficulty of getting credit.

          We should concentrate on those.

          But if you think that cutting wages so that the taxpayer has to further subsidise low-paying employers is a good idea, isn’t it _you_ who wants the taxpayer to pay for ‘prosperity’?

          • Ash

            If the government were really interested in protecting the incomes of the low paid they would not have embarked on this policy of mass unskilled immigration so as to keep wages low.

            The welfare system is now so hideously complicated that, as we see in this case, you end up taking thousands in tax from the lowest paid in order to give the money back as handouts from the state. Even some Labour ministers are questioning the logic of using Tax Credits as a government subsidy for employers who pay low wages.

            I can see the argument for a minimum wage if that is what it is – but the present system where it is effectively a method not of helping the low paid or business but a way of protecting tax revenue is not really helping anyone.

            As for your support for yet more government borrowing, well only a spokesman for the Labour Party could believe that the recipe for a crisis brought on by excess borrowing is yet more borrowing.

            And when the borrowing and printing money doesn’t work what is plan ‘B’?

  • Ash

    Hiro – you are quite correct in that I wouldn’t be allowed membership of the BNP – their policy’s are far too left-wing to have me as a member.

    But they seem to be strikingly like yours…….

  • Hiro

    Ash (pecksniff)

    So you admit you are a fascist…interesting! Do you look good in black or is more a slimming thing?

    • Ash

      If you stopped reading the Daily Mail you might have a better grasp of English.

      than again……

  • Hiro

    Oh Ash…deal in facts please:

    EU law originally limited the right to free movement to those moving for the purposes of
    work or self-employment. In the early 1990s, free movement rights were extended to other
    categories: students, retired persons and economically self-sufficient persons. Since then, the
    Court of Justice has emphasized that free movement is a fundamental right of EU citizens,
    regardless of the reason why an individual decides to live in another Member State.
    Consequently, in 2001, the European Commission proposed replacing the various laws covering
    workers, students, etc. with a single Directive on the free movement rights of all EU

    • Ash

      well the ‘facts’ are that the government has doubled the amount of Foreign workers in the UK since it came to power and 2/3rds of them come from outside the EU.