Why the minimum wage is so important

Mr Phillip Milton (Opinion, September 18, Ponzi scheme) appears to have no understanding of the plight of people on low wages.

The national minimum wage was introduced for the protection of people who, due to lack of formal skills and qualifications, are at the lower end of the employment ladder and consequently have very low bargaining powers when dealing with employers.

Nationally, this includes many vulnerable people, still able to contribute a lot to society given a chance, but here in North Devon these rates are the norm.

This makes the line between being better off working, or not, a very thin one, and people in this group deserve some respect.

The proposition that employers would choose to pay unskilled people any more than the bare minimum that they could get away with, without some sort of State intervention, is proven historically, unlikely.

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The current tough economic climate has seen the erosion for many of previously enjoyed benefits, such as secure contracts, pension plans and regular inflationary pay rises.

Many people are struggling to make ends meet.

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Also, to quote what is going on in London is simply ridiculous here in North Devon.

“There is London and then there is the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Not my words, but those of a senior economist and advisor to the treasury, and this year’s crazy hike in London house prices, against the national trend fully endorses that.

I suspect that £8.55 per hour is needed just to subsist in London.

Think again, sir, this issue is not about reds under the bed, rather the preservation of a hard-earned and much admired attribute of our great country.

Steve Hammond


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