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Labour MP calls for companies to pay for National Living Wage

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David Cameron has been criticised for George Osbourne’s National Living Wage after several companies announced cuts to staff benefits in order to pay for it.

The National Living Wage will rise to £7.20 for over-25s in April, but some workers could in fact come out with less pay. Morrisons and B&Q are but two of the retailers that will be altering their pay structure regarding benefits and wages for unsocial hours, prompting Siobhain McDonagh MP to call on Cameron to ensure that the increase does not come at workers’ expense.

“The Prime minister clearly doesn’t really care about people struggling to get by on low pay,” said McDonagh. “These are hard-working people who want to get on and who play by the rules, and who from next month will be taking home less money. This gives the lie to the idea that the Prime Minister cares about making work pay. The ‘National Living Wage’ is just another box ticked on the Prime Minister’s bucket list to try and rebrand the Tories – all spin and no substance. Next week’s Budget could have been the chance for the Tories to prove that they care about those who work hard for very little – but today they showed their true colours.”

She urged MPs to use Wednesday’s budget to “ensure nobody working on a shop floor takes home less Monday.”

McDonagh referred to “a friend” who works at B&Q who will be earning “£2,600 a year” less after hourly rates go up as a result of B&Q cutting allowances.

“We want to see people take home more money and that is why we have introduced the National Living Wage, which will be at £9 by 2020,” Mr Cameron said.

B&Q stated that it was “committed to being a good payer and remaining so in the future,” adding that “the changes will simplify our Pay and Rewards framework by aligning allowances which are currently paid inconsistently; this includes standardising bank holiday pay and bringing Sunday pay in line with other trading days

The majority of our employees will be unaffected or better off. We are mindful it’s a challenging situation for those who are affected and are offering them compensation equivalent to 12 months’ worth of any reduction in overall pay.”

“Yes a big thank you to all the living wage campaigners, you cost me a 2% pay rise last year and with this announcement you've just cost me approximately 10% pay cut,” said MCPX in response to a Retail Gazette article, ‘Will staff have to pay for National Living Wage?’

“Who did you think was going to pay for the living wage increase? Employers? Angus Ritchie might be shocked by this but no one who works for these companies is.”

Published on Thursday 10 March by Philip Gallagher

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