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Pay Levels

Volume 658: debated on Tuesday 9 April 2019

Pay has increased by 20% since 2010, we have a record number of people in work and wages are growing at their fastest pace for 10 years.

I thank the Minister for that answer. However, the ongoing benefit freeze will result in those on very low incomes being more than £800 worse off by 2020. Meanwhile, tax cuts for the rich mean that those who earn more than £60,000 will be better off. The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said that UK poverty is a direct result of political choices, so when will the Government address the fact that their political choices have led to one in eight people who are in work living in poverty?

At the Budget in 2018, we put an extra £630 into the pockets of working families on universal credit. The way we will make sure that our country succeeds is by increasing economic growth, building more houses and cutting the cost of living, not by saying that business is the enemy and trying to crash our economy.

What assessment has the Minister made of the rather bizarre policy suggestion of removing personal allowances from the low paid?

I think it is an extremely strange idea. What we need to do is cut taxes for those on low incomes, and that is what we are doing: from this April we will cut taxes by £130 for those on basic rate taxes, meaning that they will be able to keep more of their own money.

At this stage of the economic cycle there are many more people in employment, but many of them are in low paid or part-time employment. What steps are the Treasury and the Government taking to increase the level at which people earn a living to pay for the necessities of life?

Let us be clear about the statistics. Over the past year, 90% of the increase in employment has come from full-time workers, and 97% has come from high-skilled jobs. We are building an economy fit for the future.