The surge in price rises continues unabated. Official figures released in May put inflation at a rate of 2.9%, with most economists predicting further price rises this year.
For low-income households, trying to manage rising bills is near impossible. According to the Office for National Statistics, wages have fallen 1.5% in the past year, yet the same major companies which dominate the economy have raised prices are making big profits.
Workers were promised at the time the minimum wage was first introduced that this would tackle the scandal of low pay. The Socialist Party welcomed the introduction of a minimum wage but warned that it was too low and that, unless the trade unions fought for decent pay for all workers, the minimum wage would in practice become the maximum wage for many. We also called for an end to discrimination against young workers who are paid lower rates. Today 16-18 year-olds are only entitled to a scandalous £4.05 per hour! Apprentices are entitled to £3.50 per hour!
Jeremy Corbyn’s demand for £10 minimum wage has received massive support. And no wonder when so many are barely surviving on the minimum wage! The rate of price rises has outstripped the pathetic annual incremental rises the Tories have set. The Socialist Party is calling for the launching of a major trade union campaign now, mobilising as many workers as possible, to build support for an immediate £10 minimum wage, covering all workers regardless of age. There is no doubt that the support exists for such a necessary move to lift millions out of poverty.
By Gary Mulcahy