Thank you to all those who contacted me about the cost of living, public sector pay, and the minimum wage.
Working people are facing the biggest hit to living standards since records began. Real wages are lower than they were 15 years ago, with families in the UK going into the cost-of-living crisis significantly poorer than those in neighbouring countries. The price of everyday essentials – for example – has risen massively, with food prices nearly 30% higher in June than they were two years ago.
At the same time, working people are facing the highest tax burden in 70 years. Interest rates continue to rise following the economic chaos caused by the Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng mini-budget in September 2022, which has added thousands of pounds to people’s mortgage bills.
Since the beginning of the crisis, I have therefore supported calls for action – including for a proper windfall tax on oil and gas companies, without the loopholes in the Government’s version – to support people with the cost of living.
On public sector pay, I pay tribute to the frontline workers to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. Like all workers, they deserve a decent pay rise.
It is the responsibility of the Government, having created a situation where wages have been stagnant for so many years, to resolve this issue. On 13 July, the Government that it was accepting the recommendations of the independent pay review bodies. I will continue to monitor this issue.
On the minimum wage, I believe we should change the Low Pay Commission’s remit so that it takes into account the cost of living – alongside median wages and economic conditions – so that we can finally have a genuine living wage which people can live on. We should empower key workers to act collectively to negotiate higher wages and better conditions.
Growth is the key to improving living standards and reducing poverty, to creating better-paying jobs, and to providing the tax revenues we need to fund strong public services. That is why I want the UK to have the highest sustained growth in the G7, with good jobs and productivity growth in every part of the country.