Brexit Britain announced that the minimum wage will be increased for approximately two million workers, with those aged 23 and overseeing their pay rise from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 as of April 1.
According to the Government, the 59p hourly increase to the so-called “national living wage” will mean a full-time worker on the lowest pay will receive a raise of more than £1,000 per year, an inflation-busting 6.6 per cent increase.
The move prompted Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois to blame France’s lower wages on the EU and the eurozone model.
He slammed, “The minimum wage in the UK will increase by 6.6 per cent! Two times more than inflation! That’s £9.5 per hour or €11.3 per hour. In France, it is €10.5 per hour.
“Contrary to the promises of the candidates for the 2022 presidential election, the EU and the euro are preventing a sharp rise of the minimum growth wage (SMIC) in France. Thank you, Brexit!”
Critics in the United Kingdom questioned how much better off workers will be, given that the Chancellor has already increased National Insurance and reduced Universal Credit as inflation rises, with the consumer price inflation rate currently standing at 3.1 per cent.
Workers’ National Insurance Contributions will rise by 1.25 percentage points beginning in April to help fund the NHS and social care, while he ended the £20-a-week Universal Credit coronavirus uplift earlier this month.
In his Budget on Wednesday, the Chancellor confirmed that he will scrap the UK Government’s year-long public sector pay freeze, paving the way for a possible wage increase for those such as teachers, nurses, police, and armed forces personnel next year.
However, there is no guarantee that the increase will be greater than the rising cost of living, which means that workers may still feel worse off. According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, there were 5.68 million registered public sector workers in June.
Mr Sunak has not specified how much wages will be raised, with the increases expected to be announced next year in response to recommendations from independent pay review bodies. And business minister Paul Scully refused to guarantee that the increases would be higher than inflation.
“That will be determined by the pay review bodies. The Chancellor is keen to give people rise. They will then take that into account as they look to what should be an appropriate rise for the public sector, given the public finances.
“I can’t pre-empt what they are going to do. We will see where we are come next April when the review bodies have reported.”
In terms of cost-of-living pressures, Mr Scully acknowledged that the economy is going through a “difficult time.” Unions urged Mr Sunak to commit to a pay increase that is higher than inflation and to guarantee new funding for departments so that pay increases do not have to be offset by cuts elsewhere.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We need a proper plan from the Chancellor tomorrow to get pay rising across the economy.
“That means a pay rise for all public sector workers that at least matches the cost of living. If Rishi Sunak does not increase department budgets, the pay freeze will be over in name only.”