SAJID JAVID announced plans to raise the national living wage to £10.50 an hour within five years as he sought to move the Tory conference on from Boris Johnson and Thighgate.
The chancellor said his ‘ambitious’ proposal — which would also see the age threshold lowered to cover all workers over the age of 21 — would give 4million people a pay rise.
‘Over the next five years, we will make the UK one of the first major economies in the world to end low pay altogether,’ he told the conference. ‘To do that, I am setting a new target for the national living wage, raising it to match two-thirds of median earnings.’
This would represent a 95p hourly increase by 2024 compared to the current system.
Only workers aged 25 and over currently qualify for the living wage, which is set at £8.21. Those 24 and under receive the minimum wage.
But Mr Javid said the government wanted to reward the hard work of millennials and bring down the age threshold to cover all workers over the age of 21. A spokesman for the chancellor said workers would be around £4,000 a year better off.
Mr Javid also promised an ‘infrastructure revolution’ with investment in roads, buses and broadband. ‘We will soon launch the new roads investment strategy with £29billion committed over the next five years,’ he said.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell branded the living wage plans a ‘pathetic attempt at catch-up that will fool nobody’. He added: ‘Labour will introduce £10 as a minimum as soon as we take office and, rising with living costs, it will mean everybody over 16 years of age will be earning comfortably more than £10.50 an hour by 2024.’