George Osborne’s living wage promise in the budget was a lie according to Pat Harrington, general secretary of the Solidarity Union.
Pat Harrington slammed the claim as "a misuse of language aimed at grabbing headlines and deceiving the public",
In the final announcement of his one-hour six-minute speech, Mr Osborne said all workers over 25 would be paid at least £7.20 from next April. He said it proved the Tories were “the party of the working people of Britain.”
His claims were soon proved false. The Living Wage Foundation stated his announcement was “not a living wage.” And they should know!
The rate is significantly lower than the £7.85-an hour national living wage set by the foundation, which calculates the “minimum acceptable standard of living.”
Even the £9 an hour promised by Osborne by 2020 is less than the current London living wage of £9.15. Living Wage director Rhys Moore questioned the claim by the Chancellor: “Is this really a living wage?”
“This is effectively a higher national minimum wage and not a living wage.”
On London, he said: “These changes will not help the 586,000 people for whom even the 2020 rate announced today would not be enough to live on now.”
Rhys Moore asked: "what about the 2 million under-25s who are not covered by this announcement? To make sure workers in London and those under 25 do not lose out, we call on employers to join the group of 1,600 or " ganisations that have already chosen to become voluntary Living Wage employers."
Rhys Moore also pointed out that a real living wage would now need to be raised further because of cuts to child and working tax credit announced by Chancellor Osborne in the Tory budget. The income threshold in tax credits was slashed from £6,420 to £3,850, while families will no longer receive support for any more than two children.
A two-tier benefits cap was also introduced, with families in London limited to £23,000 and those outside just £20,000 — down from £26,000. The public-sector pay squeeze was also extended for a further four years.
The Chancellor had used the TUC’s campaign slogan in his speech, saying: “Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the fact that he had “finally woken up to the fact that Britain needs a pay rise.”
But she added: “The Chancellor is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Massive cuts in support for working people will hit families with children hardest.”