Brent Council leader claims government’s Living Wage plans will see workers’ pay SLASHED in the borough
PUBLISHED: 18:04 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 18:04 14 July 2015
The leader of the council fears workers in Brent could have their wages slashed once the government’s new law for all businesses to pay the Living Wage is introduced.
Last week, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the summer budget that all businesses must pay a Living Wage of at least £7.20 from April next year.
However Brent Council is one of the few Living Wage Foundation accredited local authorities in the country meaning businesses in the borough pay £9.15 per hour.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “The living wage, that’s a joke considering we have been one of the first boroughs to become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.
“For nearly three years we have been promoting businesses signed up at £9.15 an hour and he’s introducing it at £7.20. What incentive is there now for them to start paying the £9.15?
“People will end up with less money in their pocket. It’s absolutely horrendous.”
In a further attack he slammed the introduction of the right to buy for housing association tenants claiming it would reduce social housing levels, and called the axing of housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds as disastrous
“From 18 to 21 they are in the prime of their lives, looking to move out, get on their feet, and start a career.
“What happens to them? Do I put them back on the street?”
Speaking about changes which will see anyone earning under £12,500 a year while working at least 30 hours exempt from income tax in 20120 but a tax credit cap on two children by 2017, he said: “Taking people out of tax might look good, but taking tax credits away from families with more that two children would see those same people less well off.
“He makes it look like he’s done everybody a favour but he hasn’t.”
Asked what positives he could see for residents in the budget, he said: “I can’t see anything at the moment.
“I’m not overly impressed with it as it doesn’t address important issues.”
Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent Central added that the tax credit cap could see a surge in child poverty in the borough.
She said: “In Brent we have large Muslim and Irish communities. Many families have more than three children per household.”
The Treasury refused to comment on Cllr Butt and Ms Butler’s claims instead referred the Times to the budget report that says: “This is a Budget that ensures economic security for working people by putting the public finances in order and setting out a bold plan for a more productive, balanced economy.”
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