In a speech to businesses last Friday, Labour’s shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves MP launched the party’s Economic Plan for London.
The plan includes commitments to cut and then freeze business rates, introduce a new lower 10 pence starting rate of tax (benefitting 2,800,000 people in London on middle and low incomes), increase the national minimum wage to £8 before 2020 and encourage more London employers to pay a living wage by giving a tax rebate to those that sign up in the first year of the next parliament, just like the programme Brent Council launched earlier this year.
Under the current government real wages in London are down more than £3,272 since 2010 and 356,000 working families have seen their tax credits cut in real terms.
Furthermore, the number of working people paid less than a living wage has risen by nearly a third from 639,000 to 917,000, and the number of people unemployed for over three years has risen 524% since 2010.
Labour candidate for Brent Central, Dawn Butler said: “Here in Brent unemployment is higher than the national average, and these latest figures regarding long-term unemployment are nothing short of staggering.”
“We want a fair deal for both employers and employees. By cutting and freezing business rates we can reinvigorate the high street; and as a result, companies will be able to better afford a proper living wage for all their workers.”
She continued: “Additionally, we want to build a more productive economy and raise living standards for the people of Brent Central who have suffered from increasing costs of living and a shortfall in support for too long.”
Rachel Reeves MP said: “Labour’s Economic Plan for London will help businesses grow, and workers earn more. Five years of the Tory failing plan has left millions of Londoners who do the right thing, work hard and contribute now struggling to get by on low wages.”