Skip to main content


Volume 575: debated on Wednesday 12 February 2014

13. What assessment he has made of changes in real wages in Wales since 2010; and if he will make a statement. (902466)

Wales had seen the biggest increase in average earnings of all the regions and nations of the United Kingdom, with earnings increasing at twice the national average and more than twice the current rate of inflation. Wage levels are still not where we want them to be, but that is still positive news for Wales.

Wales has the highest proportion of people earning less than the living wage, which is outrageous. What are the Government doing to tackle that problem?

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already said where he wants to see the national minimum wage going, as conditions allow. We want to see a strong minimum wage that will benefit low-paid workers. One of the most important things we are doing is taking 130,000 of the lowest-paid people in Wales out of income tax altogether by increasing the personal allowance to £10,000, something the hon. Lady and her colleagues should very much support.

Does the Minister accept that wages in Flintshire have dropped dramatically since the election of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government and that the situation is not helped by cuts to child tax credits, by the bedroom tax or by other measures they are taking? Will he join my hon. Friend the Member for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery) this afternoon in his plan to introduce a Bill to scrap the bedroom tax?

If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the figures, he will see that the biggest destruction in real wage levels occurred under the last three years of the previous Labour Government, and we are still recovering from the economic trauma of that period. Wage levels are still not where we want them to be, but they are increasing in Wales, which is positive news for people on the lowest incomes.

Well, we have got through the lot, the principals are present and the House is expectant, so we can move on to questions to the Prime Minister.