Call for flexibility on UK minimum wage

Tim Wallace
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THE MINIMUM wage should be varied by region to reflect the different costs of living in different areas, a think-tank claimed today.

The Resolution Foundation praised the flexibility of the minimum wage, which has declined in real terms in reaction to the UK’s recent economic weakness.

This year’s planned increase from £6.08 to £6.19 will leave the wage six per cent below its 2009 peak in real terms, and even below its 2004 level thanks to three years of below inflation increases, when using the retail price index.

“Given the scale of the challenge now facing living standards it might be time to think about more radical options for reform,” said the think-tank’s James Plunkett.

“For example, we could consider introducing a higher minimum wage for workers aged over 30 who are more likely to have families to support, or for London and the south east. We could also do more to show that big companies in some sectors could afford to pay more than the legal minimum.”