Labour would introduce ‘real’ living wage of over £10 an hour, pledges John McDonnell

Written by Tom Freeman and Josh May on 26 September 2016 in News

Labour conference: GMB union welcomes pledge on fair pay but calls fracking ban “an abdication of responsibility”

John McDonnell -  credit Danny Lawson/PA

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said “decent pay” would be a central part of a “new deal” for the British economy under a Labour government.

In his speech to Labour conference in Liverpool, McDonnell said this would include a commitment to a real Living Wage, to contrast with the Conservative National Living Wage introduced by George Osborne.

The Shadow Chancellor said it was a "historic step forward" and built on the last Labour government's introduction of the national minimum wage.


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"Under the next Labour government, everyone will earn enough to live on,” he said.

“When we win the next election we will write a real Living Wage into law. We'll charge a new Living Wage Review Body with the task of setting it at the level needed for a decent life.

“Independent forecasts suggest that this will be over £10 per hour. This will be a fundamental part of our new bargain in the workplace."

He said a higher minimum wage formed part of a global movement to reform the economy.

"Backed up by our commitment to investment, we will end the scourge of poverty pay. Decent pay is not just fundamentally right, it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Britain.

"We need a new deal across our whole economy. Because whatever we do in Britain, the old rules of the global economy are being rewritten for us."

The GMB union, which has opposed the leadership under Jeremy Corbyn on Trident and fracking, welcomed McDonnell’s announcement.

David Hamblin, Chair, GMB Young Members said:

“Workers’ difficulties keeping up with the cost of living has become a crisis across the country and it’s up to the UK government to ensure that the lowest paid aren’t left behind by the rising costs of rent, bills and essentials that threaten to overwhelm them.”

However, responding to a pledge by Shadow Energy Secretary Barry Gardiner to ban fracking, Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary, said:

“Britain needs gas. The first fracked gas from America arrives tomorrow at Grangemouth. Carting gas across oceans is not good from the environment and not good for security of supply in the UK.

“Given we will need gas to heat our homes and power industry, the question is therefore where are we going to get our gas from. We are increasingly going to be dependent on regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and head-choppers for the gas we need. That isn't ethical and is surely an abdication of our environmental and moral responsibilities."

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