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Labour campaigns hard on higher wages

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Sounds similar to what the Tories said last week though…

You might remember last week David Cameron (the man who actually has the most power to increase the minimum wage) made a poor and confusing attempt to get businesses to pay more to their workers.

Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce, Cameron, who we assume just forgot he was prime minister at the time, urged businesses to pay their employees a better salary.

But today it’s Labour’s turn to carry basically the same message.

Ed Miliband pledged to offer tax breaks to employers who paid the living wage and to raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020, bringing it closer to average earnings.

Miliband said: “There is a choice of two plans at this election. A failing plan under which we would carrying on as we are with a government claiming the economy is a success when it only works for a handful of people at the top. Or a new plan, a better plan, that says this economy must succeed for working families if Britain as a whole is going to succeed.

“Nothing more symbolises their failing plan than seeing tax gap – between what should be paid and the revenue received – widening while the number of apprenticeships available for young people is falling.”

However, the Tories said Labour’s plans would increase red tape.

Productivity gap

Meanwhile, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said, due to poor productivity, British people take one day a week longer to do the same work than French and German workers.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have got to deal with the productivity issues we have in this country.

“It takes, on average, a British worker to Friday to do what equivalent workers in Germany or France will complete by the end of Thursday afternoon.”

He said the UK needed to make sure workers had “the right skills” to improve output.

Deputy Director-General Katja Hall of the CBI welcomed Labour’s plans. She said: “Addressing productivity is right. It holds the key to raising living standards and making growth work for everyone.

“Low productivity has been one of the main reasons for low pay growth in recent years.

“Raising skills and improving management boost productivity and enable individuals to move into higher-paid work.”

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