July 10: A living wage – or death for many businesses and jobs?

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

I SUPPOSE it was inevitable that The Yorkshire Post’s readers would vote in favour of the living wage in a recent news poll. But one does rather wonder if they actually knew what they were voting for.

Of course you should be paid a living wage tailored to your needs and aspirations. If you are not offered enough money to do a job, you can either turn down the job offer or negotiate with your employer, who, if his profit margins will allow it, may increase his offer.

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But that is not what advocates of a statutory living wage are suggesting. They would like to force an employer to pay his workers specific sums of money regardless of the ability of the business to afford it.

This would be an unachievable, administrative and economic nightmare – a piece of politically-motivated nonsense which will succeed only in destroying businesses and throwing workers back on the dole queue. Public sector employers would demand more support from the taxpayer to meet the inevitable rise in their wages bills. Taxes would rise, removing any benefit gained and hampering the ability of the State to protect vulnerable groups, such as pensioners.

And just how would it be decided what a “living wage” is? You may know what you think you need, but the bloke next door’s needs might be substantially different from yours. A single man would need less than a married man with three kids. But the position might be reversed if the single bloke only has one leg and the married man’s wife and two of his children work. Will you be required to claim for and provide proof of your needs, thus raising the spectre of the dreaded means test? Nobody knows the answer to that one and until we do, we should be very wary of lending any support to what I regard as a fundamentally daft idea.

From: R Webb, Wakefield

IT seems Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith can’t manage a credit card. You would hate to think he was in charge of anything important – God help the disabled and unfortunate.

MPs are given official 
credit cards to pay for everyday items, then expected to 
claim the money back on expenses, to balance the 
books. IDS, who accured 
more than £1,000 in unpaid expenses, had his account suspended for not paying his debts.

A fine example for all the people he preaches at!