Increase to national living wage is just a ‘feeble gesture’ as Westonians ‘struggle’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 April 2017

Archant

Low-income workers could earn hundreds of pounds more each year after the hourly minimum wage was increased by 30p, but Westonians remain cynical about the changes.

This month, the Government announced it would increase the national living wage from £7.20 to £7.50 for people aged 25 and over.

But people aged 24 and below will still be on the national minimum wage – which ranges from £3.50 for an apprenticeship to £7.05 for people aged 21 to 24.

Louise Branch, chairman of Equality North Somerset, described the change in the national living wage as a ‘feeble gesture’.

She said: “It is not going to be enough to keep up with the constant standard of living. It will not make a difference to people.

“If we are going to call it a living wage then you need to be able to live off it.”

Ms Branch added the Living Wage Commission – made up of independent experts, employers and trade unions – has set a ‘realistic’ wage of £8.45.

She added: “I would like to strongly encourage employers to consider this the real living wage.”

The reaction on the Mercury’s social media reaction was mixed too.

Richard Hopkins, from Weston, said: “The national living wage is just the Government putting a smokescreen up; this will make no difference to most people as the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes.

“It will put more strain on small and large businesses which are struggling now and, in the long run, will put more strain on its low-paid workers.”

Jennifer Wakefield, also from Weston, said: “It is enough for one single person to scrape through life but add kids to the mix then there is no hope.”


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