I noted yesterday my concern that the UK’s “economic recovery” is a dangerous illusion, and worse still that this illusion was being deliberately politically motivated. Perhaps I’m just cynical?
It is hard to be otherwise, however, about the Chancellor’s sudden conversion to raising the minimum wage beyond inflation.
To be clear, there is a Conservative argument for raising the minimum wage. It is fairly straightforward – if you want to make work pay (a fundamental aspect of welfare reform), then you have to ensure pay is high enough. A minimum wage of £6.80 would increase the differentiation between working and not working (albeit, frankly, relatively marginally).
However, crude politics is the main reason. By buying into a rise in the minimum wage, regardless of whether it is economically sensible, the Conservatives can trump another aspect of Labour’s election campaign.
What next – a reversal of the hated “Bedroom Tax”?! Don’t bet against it…