Labour Market

Politicising the National Minimum Wage will not help those on low incomes


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Len Shackleton comments on the anniversary of the National Minimum Wage

Commenting on the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage, Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs said:

“While UK minimum wages may have thus far had little overall effect on employment, this cannot be guaranteed in future, now that it is out of the hands of the Low Pay Commission. Both major parties seem inclined to increase the National Living Wage and its subsidiary rates quite sharply – a risk that prioritises politics over the jobs market.

“In any case, to reduce poverty significantly we need benefit reform, improved housing supply, and a reduction in forms of product regulation and taxation which disproportionately harm the poor. A minimum wage is neither necessary nor sufficient to improve the prospects of those most in need.”


Notes to Editors

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For related IEA research on the labour market and the minimum wage, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

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