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MPs call for debate on closing "loopholes" in national living wage legislation

Helen Cahill
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Former chancellor George Osborne brought in the national living wage (Source: Getty)

A group of Conservative and Labour MPs are calling for a debate on the national living wage to discuss how its implementation by businesses is "against the spirit of the law".

Thirty-one MPs are looking to debate the issue on 4 November, during Living Wage week, City A.M. understands.

Read more: M&S shells out £100m for pension changes and payments to ease pay cut pain

MPs have applied to debate the motion that the House "believes that the use of the introduction of the national living wage to drive down conditions and take home pay is against the spirit of the law; calls on the government to close down the loopholes that make this possible and believes that any moves to reduce the value of the national living wage...is unacceptable."

The national living wage came into effect in April this year and is set to rise to £9 by 2020. Recent analysis has shown that tens of thousands of companies have been pushed into financial distress because of the changes.

Retailers such as M&S have been cutting benefits for workers in response to the legislation, a move former chancellor George Osborne has said goes against the "spirit" of the legislation.

Read more: National living wage pushes thousands of companies into financial distress

M&S has cut higher pay on Sundays and bank holidays as part of a programme to absorb the cost of the national living wage and was then accused of threatening to sack staff who refused to sign the new contracts.

After discussing the pay changes with staff, M&S increased the one-off payments it was making to those employees who were affected. McDonagh, who has been campaigning on behalf of staff, said that the offer "fell far short of what longstanding employees deserve".

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