To wonder why people think "raise the NMW" is the answer to poverty?

(141 Posts)
windowwashingbanshee Thu 28-Mar-13 16:05:59

Without wanting to refer to another thread too much (...), I did hmm at seeing yet another comment about raising the minimum wage being the answer to poverty.

I'm a small business (co-)owner. Five of our permies are on NMW, the starting point for all employees, with potential raises; having worked on NMW for years myself, I'm a firm believe of retaining people, rather than just hiring cheaply (too short-term thinking for me). Nevertheless, whichever way you look at it, we need fairly unskilled labour - it's warehouse work - packing, sorting, bagging, and preparing labels for shipping. Our work is fairly seasonal, with dips which are mostly predictable. When that happens, and orders are low, I normally focus on doing other things - making sure people are up to date on their training, we usually have a volunteer day which everyone can opt into, permitting extra-long holidays, and so on.

However, in those times we barely break even some years. And although the balance of the busy months makes us profitable overall, I know I'd face huge pressure to let one or two employees go every year if the NMW was put up to a "living wage" suddenly, depending on the length of the dip, or move to some sort of zero-hours contract situation, which I don't want to do.

I'm not sure I'm explaining it properly - but basically I can afford to keep under-utilised employees on full-time in quiet periods if they're paid NMW right now. If I had to pay several pounds more per employee, us "just breaking even" would tip into "making a loss", because the productivity of those employees wouldn't be worth the £8 / £9 (or whatever) it had been raised to.

So, AIBU to think that the posters who claim that "raise the NMW" is the miracle that would end poverty in this country are being quite short-sighted? It seems that way to me.

JakeBullet Thu 28-Mar-13 16:10:46

I agree with you window provided you are not among those decrying people who then have to claim tax credits and damning them as "benefit claimants".

Fact is that NMW is not a "living" wage and needs topping up by the Bovt.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:12:42

As long as people can keep their tax credits then why bother raising minimum wage.

RatPants Thu 28-Mar-13 16:13:39

People can't live on minimum wage. The fact that tax credits even exist is an admission of this.

How much do you and the directors take home though window?

If you're running a business that doesn't pay a living wage for all employees including you then your business isn't financially viable.

If you're raking it in and currently sipping champagne in your hot tub then maybe it's the opposite problem wink rich directors, poor staff

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:14:33

Its better to be on tax credits than to have a higher wage for a lot of people. I would prefer to stay on minimum wage and have tax credits.

TiredyCustards Thu 28-Mar-13 16:18:06

Isn't this what people said about the nmw though?

The money either comes from the govt or the employer. Your situation is what makes it a tricky issue, but the govt subsidising Tesco et al to pay low wages isn't right imo.

Are your staff all on zero-hours contracts, as well? If you can't run your business without exploiting your employees then your business deserves to fail. There was a lot of whining when the NMW was first introduced, but it didn't lead to a total collapse.
Of course the answer to poverty involves raising the NMW because the way to address poverty is to get more money into the pockets of the poor. They will spend it, boosting the economy still further. It's hardly rocket science, though it seems to be beyond the Government to work this out.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 28-Mar-13 16:18:17

YABU. NMW is no where near enough to live on given the sharp rise in cost of living. Increasing the NMW would increase the amount of tax being paid and decrease the amount of benefits being paid in the form of tax credits etc.

As a co-owner of a small business myself i understand your personal predicament but you can't really expect people to try to survive on pathetic wages just so you can run your own business. If increasing staff wages to a decent living wage would mean running your business at a loss you need to re-think your business.
I pay my staff above MW but am lucky in that i employ mainly students and my busy periods are during term time so i don't really need the extra staff in my quiet periods and most students tend to go home then.
To answer your question, yes raising NMW will help reduce poverty but it will also see small businesses dwindling as they already are.

greendental Thu 28-Mar-13 16:20:09

I think you're doing well if you're retaining your staff on nmw and the turnover isn't high.

cantspel Thu 28-Mar-13 16:20:37

I dont think raising the mn is the answer but they should raised the tax allowance and exempt anyone earning less than £15k

HillBilly76 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:21:34

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HillBilly76 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:22:21

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GrendelsMum Thu 28-Mar-13 16:23:02

Isn't the OP saying that at the moment, she employs people on the same NMW all year round, and that she thinks that's a better option than her alternative, which is employing people only in busy months but at a higher wage? I don't think that zero hours contracts came into it.

stressyBessy22 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:26:37

If you can't afford to pay your staff a living wage then you shouldn't be in business.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 28-Mar-13 16:27:21

Chesty Why would it be better to be on tax credits than an increased wage? Who would that benefit?

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:29:54

Employees with kids would benefit and companies. Its harder if you havent got kids, but it doesnt make sense to make high wages if you have kids for a lot of people.

whois Thu 28-Mar-13 16:31:13

Because, OP, an awful lot of people are not very clever. And another chunk of people don't have much of an understanding of basic economics.

FYI people can live on NMW. Those without children shouldn't have a problem.

IslaValargeone Thu 28-Mar-13 16:33:18

acceptable You have said that in your quiet times coincide with your employees (mainly students) going home.
Not all businesses can employ students though.
Surely it's better to keep people employed 52 weeks a year but on NMW than have to let people go during the quiet times because business is slow?

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 28-Mar-13 16:34:46

If your business is not profitable without paying a living wage it is not a truly viable business and that's the harsh truth of it.

IslaValargeone Thu 28-Mar-13 16:35:31

Employees with families could benefit from a higher wage if businesses didn't have to pay a student £x an hour for answering a phone every now and again.

ParadiseChick Thu 28-Mar-13 16:37:20

It's tax credits that have enabled companies to pay shit wages that people can't even live on.

whois Thu 28-Mar-13 16:38:09

stressyBessy22 that's a stupid comment. It's way better for everyone to have a company providing a service and paying some people MW and gaining experience to hopefully move onto a better paid job.

Or would you rather the OP shut her business, made everyone redundant and increase the burden on the state?

You can't seriously think that's better? Fucking hell, I keep forgetting I shouldn't get involved with these posts. People. Stupid.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 28-Mar-13 16:39:05

Is that not because people have just gotten used to being subsidised by the state though? NMW workers only get handouts because they don't earn enough to provide for their families, surely it would make more sense to increase wages to a decent standard to allow people to be able to provide for their own families?

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:40:14

No it wont be. I would turn down a higher wage if offered as its not worthwhile for me to do it. So minimum wage often benefits the staff and the employees.

ParadiseChick Thu 28-Mar-13 16:41:43

It's ridiculous when lots of huge multi's with millions of pounds profit aren't paying their staff a living wage because the government are topping up their earnings.

stressyBessy22 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:43:35

Whois the only one it is better for is the employer who is either greedy or lacking the acumen to be successful without exploiting workers

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 28-Mar-13 16:44:02

There are other ways to approach making it easier for small business to employ people outside of keeping nmw low though - how much employer ni is paid on top of nmw is key in lots of cases.

IslaValargeone Thu 28-Mar-13 16:45:12

Small business owners shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as the huge multis though.
Lots of small business owners jump through a thousand hoops, have sleepness nights and ulcers trying to keep their employees in jobs and their businesses running.

MrsKoala Thu 28-Mar-13 16:45:48

forgive me if i'm being thick OP but if all of the staff in your industry earned more, then could the cost be passed on to those purchasing your product? If it was in all businesses similar to yours the cost would go up across the industry then if people wanted/needed your product the market would support an increase? or is that too simplistic?

Before i went to uni there was no NMW and i got £8-9 per hour as a receptionist. Now when i temp (way more experience and qualified in much more) i get nmw. Because the bar was lowered. But the cost of living has gone up massively in the last 16 years.

windowwashingbanshee Thu 28-Mar-13 16:46:46

Didn't expect so many replies so quickly, will try to answer questions whilst i catch up with the responses:

- We don't use zero hour contracts at the moment, and never have, mainly because i like to employ the same people again - yes, anyone could do the roles we've hired for, but i also like people that i can trust, get on well with the rest of the team. i wouldn't get that if we started using too many temp workers

- We do have a very high retention rate, yes, but I try to focus on not just thinking i can buy people's loyalty with higher wages - people start on NMW but we do reward people with higher wages to keep them and offer other little things that I think make a difference (for starters, when I was doing warehouse work myself, sometimes it got very very cold with the delivery doors open - why not free tea and coffee? cheap and such a little perk at work)

- we could afford to pay people a living wage when their activity is equal to or more than the outlay in costs (and not just salary - NI contributions etc) but that was sort of my whole point - there would be increased pressure to be much more ruthless with employing people when during our (almost predictable) quiet periods mean their "cost" to the business is a loss-maker - I can afford to be slightly more flexible with employment (keeping people on) because I think it brings other rewards (loyalty, quality work)... I wouldn't have the same discretion or agreement of my business partner if NMW rose to a "living wage" level

- we don't employ students or temp workers for the above reasons (as in, we don't actively recruit for them specifically, we have had examples in the past) - our dips are industry related, not in terms of calendar months

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 28-Mar-13 16:47:59

OK increasing NMW should not have a negative impact on businesses that only trade within the UK. If NMW goes up all businesses would have to increase prices to cover increased wages. Everyone would still be competing on a minimum play ying field.

Increasing NMW to a living wage wouldn't cure poverty but it would help a lot if people out. It is a bit ridiculous that you can go to work full time and not earn enough to support yourself.

EasilyBored Thu 28-Mar-13 16:49:28

If NMW doesn't go up, then housing and cost of living will have to come down.

I imagine you could live on it if you were childless. But when you're factoring in childcare costs it becomes unworkable without help.

Some people will work on minimum wage for their whole lives, for a whole variety of reasons, should they just not have children at all?

Bramshott Thu 28-Mar-13 16:49:29

I think because people realise the very real problems caused by trying to live on NMW - which full time is about £10,000 a year isn't it? If you're a family with two parents and three kids, there's no way you can live on that. Mainly because of high housing costs I guess, but 50 years ago it WOULD have been possible to support a family on a basic factory worker's or farm labourer's wage, and it grates that it just isn't possible any more.

JustinBsMum Thu 28-Mar-13 16:50:02

People's expectations are going to have to lower. How did people manage in the past? I think families were more supportive of each other. Young people doing apprenticeships earned very little for years (was it 5 years to be a plumber?) so there was no expectations of DCs or mortgage, or even of a car. Then you probably rented for years before saving enough for a mortgage.
Families on low wages didn't have holidays or luxuries.

Perhaps there was alot of tied housing so rents were lower but tied to the job.

Am just surmising - the well paid jobs for the majority are not going to return I don't think.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 16:51:08

Easilybored thats why its better to be on minimum wage as you get lots of help. If I had a higher wage I would get less help so its swings and roundabouts.

Surely, though, there are ways to raise NMW without affecting small businesses too much. You could exempt businesses with fewer than 25 employees, for example.

I appreciate what you're saying OP but it's crazy to let huge corporations like Tesco get away with too low wages for the sake of businesses like yours. There must be some practical ways of getting around the problem.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 28-Mar-13 16:52:22

Isla I agree i'm lucky in that respect but the reality is if NMW is increased then Op will need to reduce staff levels or take staff on temporary contracts. Lots of people have more than one job. As a pp said, tax credits are just a way for employers to pay their staff shit wages. Having people working for NMW and claiming tax credits (bearing in mind there'll not be much income tax being paid) is no way for any economy to survive. If as a small business you cannot afford to pay say £9 per hour instead of £6 then the business is not viable.

Feminine Thu 28-Mar-13 16:54:51

Of course it should go up!

That will separate the decent business owners from the greedy!

My DH works for about 1.50 over min wage. The company he works for hard turns over millions!

If the min wage increased properly , we could tell TC/WTC bugger off!

I'm sick of having to answer to Government bodies just because wages are so dreadfully low.

IslaValargeone Thu 28-Mar-13 16:57:09

Some small businesses do require certain skills from certain employees though, it isn't always about packing boxes and shipping.
There are niche high street businesses that rely on the continuity of a specific skill that some random temp can't cover for a few weeks at a time.
That's the person you have to keep on, even during the quiet periods, because he isn't going to find other work outside his area either.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 16:59:11

Small business should be exempt from having to pay tax, and I think companies should be given the money that is currently used in tax credits. It makes no sense for people to work and then have to claim benefits. It would be much simpler if NMW was a living wage, and companies were subsidised rather than individuals.

The point is, that working has to pay. If companies were able to pay their employees a living wage rather than NMW, we would have less people in the benefits system, and it would be clear that working would be beneficial financially. It would also mean that companies who could afford to pay their employees a living wage would have to do so without being subsidised by government either in tax credits or tax incentives. They would pay their own way and the public purse would be left completely out of the equation.

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 17:01:33

OP, I don't think you answered the question about how much you pay yourself?

Feminine Thu 28-Mar-13 17:02:59

My Dad has a theory ( well he can't be the only one) that thinks MW should be abolished totally! apparently market forces will then dictate what workers get paid. confused

My Dad is a very successful self-employed business owner.

How easy for him to have that opinion.

MrsKoala Thu 28-Mar-13 17:03:40

But that's the problem isn't it - there are some people who can live on nmw, even in London, but they are young people living with m&d, or in a shared house. If you have a family you just can't compete. Where i used to live some neighbours moved into a 2 bed flat, there were loads of them. When i got chatting to one she told me they have 2/3 to a room including the lounge. They were from a very poor country and she said she grew up sharing a room so didn't mind. To them our standards were too high. But i would not consider living like that - so maybe they are. Or maybe we are creating a massive divide in peoples living standards and in turn putting more pressure on infrastructures like public transport, sewage, doctors, refuse collections etc. Which in turn costs more than paying people a decent living wage.

It's interesting to see the arguments about this, coming from the US where we have had NMW -- and the debate about it! -- since the 1930s.

Every single time they raise it, through all those decades, business claims it will drive up unemployment and destroy the economy, but it doesn't happen.

There's a good overview about it here:

What would ideally happen OP is that with everyone making more money, there should be more demand for your products and so your profits should stabilise. They found for example that restaurants in cities that passed living wage laws still did okay because more people were going out to eat.

MrsKoala Thu 28-Mar-13 17:07:45

Feminine - i remember working before nmw and campaigning for it. When i worked in a pub it was £3.50 per hour, but as a receptionist it was £9. Now they are both NMW. it just became the default pay.

MoodyDidIt Thu 28-Mar-13 17:08:20


it isn't wages that are too low, its the cost of living is too HIGH, particularly housing and fuel

have said it a million times.....

windowwashingbanshee Thu 28-Mar-13 17:09:09

currentbuns because I'm not sure how I should share that information here. Do you want me to talk about the tends of thousands we paid into the business to set it up? Or should I put anything I say in with a disclaimer about how, for the first year of running the place, I didn't actually take any wages? Do I talk about the two days a week last week that I did in the site office? Or talk about the seventy hours I did the week before?

It's all very well asking if I pay myself a director's wage, but a 'yes' or 'no' answer isn't going to cut it, because you need context for that. I believe last year my wages were just shy of the 40 grand mark, if you want a (totally meaningless, without that context) figure though.

bollywoodfan Thu 28-Mar-13 17:12:09

OP what is it you sell? The thing is if more people have more money to spend then your business should also do better in the long run. So the extra cost in wages should be offset by better sales, in thoery.

GrendelsMum Thu 28-Mar-13 17:14:07

I think it's very difficult to understand the pressures on a small business if you haven't experienced it yourself, which most people in the UK haven't.

When we see images of business in the news, particularly lately, it tends to focus on "fat cat" chairmen of multinationals. There's a lot less about the small business employing 50 or so people and constantly having to go out and sell their product.

Interestingly, I just worked out my DH's hourly salary as a small business owner, which appears to be 3 x minimum wage, for what in many ways is a pretty successful business. I don't know whether that's what people would have anticipated.

MrsDeVere Thu 28-Mar-13 17:14:43

Rents were lower.
They took up a much smaller proportion of a family's monthly income.
Families lived closer together. How can we get people to help each other out more and stop whining about wanting to stay where they are and get on their bikes?

How many times have we seen that on MN. 'Well you cant always have what you want, you have to move where the work is, the houses are cheaper etc'.

Well if you do that you leave your support network behind so your childcare costs increase along with your risk of depression and family break up.

I agree with the others. If you can't afford to pay your employees a decent wage you shouldn't be in business.

cantspel Thu 28-Mar-13 17:15:16

1 35 hour week on mn before deductions is £11265.80 Or just over £216 per week. This would be livable if you were lifted out of paying tax and national insurance. So the answer has got be be lift anyone on mn wage above the tax and NI threashold.

TeddyBare Thu 28-Mar-13 17:19:36

OP you haven't really explained why I, and all of the other tax payers in the UK, should pay your employees. As your business is getting the benefit of their work then it makes sense that you should be the one to pay for it. It sounds like you could probably re-work your business plan a little to save some of the profit from the busy times to pay a living wage during the off-peak times. You might not want to reduce your profits but that doesn't make it morally okay for you to foist the cost of paying your employees onto the tax payer.

RubberDuck Thu 28-Mar-13 17:20:53

Has everyone seen this video that went viral regarding wealth inequality in America (it wouldn't surprise me if the same was true in the UK as well)

What shocked me was just HOW badly wealth was distributed and how much more complex the problem was. Living Wage/NMW issues are really just the tip of the iceberg.

mumandboys123 Thu 28-Mar-13 17:27:26

a) there is a need for unskilled people to do 'easy' work such as cleaning, packing, sorting, bagging. Such people do not deserve to be treated like second class citizens or told they 'should have worked harder' at school if they wanted a 'decent' life.
b) people doing unskilled work at at least 40 hours a week should be afforded a decent standard of living which includes keeping a roof over their heads and being able to afford a small family.
c) 40 hours a week on NMW in most areas won't keep a roof over the heads of a small family, let alone feed them.

I have owned a small business and paid wages. Giving serious tax breaks to small business would be one solution.

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 17:28:51

It's all very well asking if I pay myself a director's wage, but a 'yes' or 'no' answer isn't going to cut it, because you need context for that. I believe last year my wages were just shy of the 40 grand mark, if you want a (totally meaningless, without that context) figure though.

Well, it isn't meaningless, really and your response is rather revealing. You believe you deserve a decent wage because you work hard, but are unwilling to apply the same standard to your employees. I agree with the other posters who said that if you are unwilling or unable to pay your employees a living wage then the business probably isn't viable.

DorisIsWaiting Thu 28-Mar-13 17:29:52


^^what Teddybare said

If tax credits were removed the government may be able to cut further taxes that small business pay. As it is people are too afraid to earn to much (and end up poorer) and business is not funding itself.

MoreBeta Thu 28-Mar-13 17:31:03

window -I have miuch sympathy with your position an dit is widely beleived that raising NMW woudl cause unemployment as employers would cut staff.

However, that analysis does not acknowledge that if all employers had to raise NMW then your competitors costs would go up as well and not just yours. Hence you would be able to raise your prices to cover those costs wiothout losing business.

I have come to the conclusion that actually raising NMW is one way to ensure that people at the bototm of the ecponomic pile get a fair share of the economic growth in this country.

However, my better solution is get rid of NMW, get rid of tax credits and get rid of all benefits and just give everyone a universal benefit every month as a flat entitlement whether in work or out of work and regardless of how rich or poor they were. That would actually cause all wages to rise as some people would simply choose not to work and instead live on their universal benefit while others would work but demand a wage that was commensurate with their desire to work and their cost of getting to work, work clothes and childcare costs.

No one would be compelled to work though and hence employers would be forced to pay a wage that was high enough to attract employees into working.

NMW, tax credits and benefits cause huge distortions in the labour market. It sounds very counter intuitive but a universal benefit paid to all would cause employers to pay higher wages and get rid of the implicit subsidy that tax credits gives to employers who can then pay a below 'living wage' as a result.

MoutardeDeDijon Thu 28-Mar-13 17:32:01

If you cannot pay your full time employees enough money for them to live on then your business is not viable.
It makes no sense at all to support a system in which the government has to top peoples' wages up with tax credits.

Feminine Thu 28-Mar-13 17:34:19

While we lived in the US , my DH did a job that would be paid min wage here.

In the US he was paid twice the min wage there (around $8)

Although it was skilled, it was a very lowly job.

We didn't need any extra assistance from the state.

Feminine Thu 28-Mar-13 17:35:08

He was paid $16 to clarify.

JuliaScurr Thu 28-Mar-13 17:37:22

all other workers are subsidising your profits

Feminine Thu 28-Mar-13 17:40:18

morebeta I totally agree.

A payment for all would be so much better.

I really think it would be fairer.

mrscog Thu 28-Mar-13 17:42:58

Interesting thread. I would agree with the posters who have said it's not that wages are too low, it's that the costs of living are too high. Not much hope for fuel or food as they are resources which are having to be shared more and more across the world. Every government's objective should be to cut the cost of housing by 50%, it would help people's wages go further and cut the cost to the state of housing benefit massively.

I personally don't think raising the MW would help long term - it would just cause inflation and then we'd be asking for another living wage in 10 years time.

I own a small business with DH, we don't make enough money yet to pay ourselves the NMW, hopefully one day we'll be in a position to employ people. Given the lack of opportunities for decent employment I do think it's a bit harsh of people to say that if you can't afford a living wage your business is not viable - long term maybe, but while you're starting up, you are giving someone the opportunity to develop their own skills. There are lots of people who could afford to be paid NMW - students, people who have a partner with a higher salary etc. And if this is the sacrifice of developing a business where after 5/10/15/20 years you can employ more people and pay better wages then so be it.

Should big businesses be able to pay NMW and not pass profits back to staff - probably not. But then I think more people should be encouraged to buy shares - a Tesco worker on NMW could buy shares to share in the profits of their labour that way. I'm not saying this is possible or easy now, but it could be a laudable aim.

Darkesteyes Thu 28-Mar-13 17:44:06

Sorry but i dont see why there is the expectation that childless people should be able to manage on minimum wage.
Childless people get working tax credit too because NMW is not enough to live on.
Childless people are struggling the same as everyone else. Especially if some are trying to support an ill partner on a low wage.
Its a bit blinkered to say that childless people "should be able to manage" As a childless person i have voiced my support for how hard it is for parents in these tough times on these boards many a time. So its not like i cant see the bigger picture.
Childless people who are signing on are expected to look for jobs with a 90 min travel time and pay those fares all on minimum wage. Im a childless person who thinks that working parents have it hard. But everyone in this climate has it hard including those without children.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 17:44:37

If wages went up though most people couldnt work as the more you earn the less childcare you get. Unless we have state funded childcare then most people will continue to need tax credits/universal credit.

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:07:08

OP I think you are getting a bit of a hard time on here tbh, and this thread is showing up a very negative view many people have of employers. I think this is deeply unfair.

No you shouldn't have employees if you can't afford to pay them NMW (I'm a sole trader myself and won't employ people until I can), but at the same time I do think people on here need a bit of a heads up about the personal financial risk small business owners take on in order to provide other individuals with a steady income.

And well done you for refusing to use zero-hour contracts, which are far more pernicious imo than any other threat to low wage workers imo (speaking as one myself!). I also think people on here need a real heads up about how much heads of business earn. A 3-4 multiple of NMW for a co-owner of a profitable business is a sensible salary.

In my last job the head of my department (didn't even own the business) was on 10x my salary, and the owner x100.

Surely the OP is running a far more sustainable model?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 18:07:31

Childless people don't have dependants to feed, so obviously their costs are going to be lower. Adult dependants should have income in their own right if they cannot work, so I don't think it makes any sense at all to say that childless people can't manage on less than those with children. Of course they can.

But if childcare was more heavily subsidised by the state, then more people would be able to afford to work.

There really shouldn't be a need for tax credits. Wealth in business needs to be distributed more easily, and businesses that can't financially afford that should be subsidised. It's ridiculous that employees of companies that are large and extremely profitable have to be subsidised by tax credits. The company needs those people to be able to make its profits, so they should be paying a wage that can fully support an individual and a child, without the need for taxpayers to chip in. If the taxpayer has to chip in for the company to be able to exist, then it should be done through the company with subsidies and tax breaks. It should not be done through the individual.

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:07:50

@chesty one would hope the threshold for help with childcare would go up to! (Not holding my breath though).

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 28-Mar-13 18:08:05

Some jobs dont need any skills so simply cant command a high salary. Those jobs that need expertise etc would raise to stupid amounts if unskilled workers wages increase dramatically.

Raising NMW would see many more made redundant. Better to increase personal tax allownces to say £15k and abolish top up benefits.

Too many people cant survive on their household income as they have an adult who doesnt work, work part time or have children that they had no way of affording. Its always somebody elses fault though.

bigkidsdidit Thu 28-Mar-13 18:13:36

Morebeta, do any serious political parties endorse that idea? It sounds really interesting

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 18:14:20

I think that would be the best thing ethelb then there would be a point to making a higher wage unfortunately at the moment it often doesnt make financial sense.

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:17:48

@chesty but I think the very low thresholds this governments and the last government put for ANY help are a separate issue (and rant!). It's not really something the OP is responsible for.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 18:21:34

No but thats why even if you offered me more money I would say no. I wouldnt want my wages to go up whilst the children are young as I would be worse off. Many people are in same boat, and so lots of people benefit from minimum wage.

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:23:18

@chesty ar tax credits based on hours worked per week or take home? Or are you talking about child benefit?

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 18:25:34

Tax credits are based on take home if I had a better paid job I would get less childcare help so I wont do it. Nearly every family I know is in same boat so thats why I much prefer the current system than raising minimum wage and abolishing tax credits.

TraineeBabyCatcher Thu 28-Mar-13 18:37:42

Whilst I can fully comprehend what everyone is saying, surely if people are only willing to pay a certain amount for a product, a product that is a result of unskilled labour, then it is only possible to pay the labouror a low wage as a result.
So any company making unskilled products can only afford to pay people a low wage (nmw in this case).

Wage is often as a result of what people are willing to pay for a product, until people are willing to pay more for a product, then the manufacturer can't increase wages because there is no money to increase it with.

But to pay more for unskilled products would make the cost of living higher.

(I know what I mean, not sure how good a job I've done of explaining it)

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:38:37

@chesty I understand that. And I don't mean to cause offense but I don't really see why the tax payer should be funding your (hypothetical) unwillingness to take on more work or higher wages, any more then they should be willing to subsidise the OP's profits.

stuffthenonsense Thu 28-Mar-13 18:38:57

Our systems are pretty good internationally, lets face it if they weren't people wouldn't risk their lives to come and be part of it. Our expectations and sense of entitlement are ridiculously high and people are too happy to blame others rather than question their own life choices.

ethelb Thu 28-Mar-13 18:40:08

@trainee willingness to pay more is dictated by income though, surely?

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 18:41:05

Ethelb - If I earnt more but not lots more it would be impossible for me to work as I wouldnt be able to afford it. If minimum wage went up and childcare thresholds didnt I would have to go on benefits. What on earth is the point in that?

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 18:42:01

How much tax do you pay? How much is your NI bill? How much are your fuel bills? Is VAT a cost to your customers?

Somebody is presumably ensuring that your employees have a roof over their heads, food on the table etc. etc. It might even be you, OP. If you dont pay your employees a living wage it'll just be harder to clarify which line of the accounts is bearing the cost.

ChestyLeRoux Thu 28-Mar-13 18:43:45

Also ethelb the taxpayer is getting something out of it cheap labour to provide all your goods and services.

TraineeBabyCatcher Thu 28-Mar-13 18:49:18

Indeed ethelb but surely increasing wages and then increasing product prices defeats the whole object as you hit an even keel as we are now.

TraineeBabyCatcher Thu 28-Mar-13 18:50:43


CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 18:53:45

Trainee, I do understand your point, but I don't think it always works like that. Otherwise you wouldn't have cheap products in supermarkets paying millions to CEOs and shareholders.

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 18:55:07

I don't know. Maybe as a tax payer I'm not interested in the op's goods and services and I'd rather buy something else?

Crawling Thu 28-Mar-13 18:57:54

If NMW is increased then product prices will increase meaning its still not a liveable wage and tax credits have to top up anyway.

All it will do is devalue the pound.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 18:59:44

Raising NMW would not necessarily increase prices if it were funded by tax breaks and money that is already being paid out in tax credits.

Iggly Thu 28-Mar-13 19:00:07

If it costs X to survive yet you can only get a job that covers half of the living costs, what are you supposed to do? Just accept it and curl up and die?

Why is it ok to expect people to earn scraps?

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 19:00:55

Increase wages, reduce tax, use disposable income to pay higher prices.

Alternatively, increase wages, reduce tax and NI for small businesses.

Atleast then the taxpayer gets to decide not to give their money to tesco's.

Crawling Thu 28-Mar-13 19:01:16

It would also de value middle jobs because companies could not afford to pay more money to everyone. So the middle jobs would be worth less.

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 19:06:05

But we are all paying the wages now. It just gets deducted from our take home pay as income tax and added to the cost of goods as vat.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 28-Mar-13 19:07:40

That's the biggest problem I see crawling. Although I completely agree that minimum wage needs to be higher, I also think that other jobs would need to be paid in line with that.

But at the same time as paying those at the bottom and the middle more, wages at the top would have to decrease as well. And lets face it, no one with the power to change things is going to do that.

The problem is with the distribution of wealth. But we shouldn't be using taxpayer money to readdress the balance via tax credits, it needs to come from within business.

I don't think it's the answer, but a big reason why the government has to pay out so much in benefits is that wages are too low to cover the cost of living (chiefly housing costs).

So the options seem to me to be
(a) Continue paying benefits to the same proportion of working people as at present in order to cover the gap
(b) Take action to reduce housing costs
(c) Take action to increase wages

or some combination of the three. Any of these is going to have a negative impact on a large number of people, and I can entirely see why you don't want the government to do the one that will impact on you specifically -- but then homeowners who don't own businesses don't want anything to hit house prices, and you don't have to look very far to find people who resent the proportion of tax income that's spent on benefits.

The problem is that increasing wages won't necessarily help with housing costs. As others have mentioned - increase one lot of wages and it will filter its way up the company and suddenly everyone's buying power "increases". So they can afford a better house - or a house at all! Except because everyone can demand increases, prices go up and we just settle at the same status quo but with a higher price tag attached.

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 20:06:43

But an increased NMW wouldnt increase the amount of money in somebody's pocket. It would just increase the proportion they received as salary and decrease the proportion they received as benefits.

Higher earners might lose salary, but the tax burden would also be reduced (or tax money spent in other ways). It's more about changing the way the money flows in the economy than changing the amount of money in the economy.

MoreBeta Thu 28-Mar-13 20:12:30

bigkidsdidit - there is a lot of academic economic discusison about a universal benefit and Ian Duncan Smith talked about a 'universal benefit' but it but it became sort of bastardised into the dreadful catastrophic tax and benefits system the Coalition are cobbling together.

To think I actually voted for the Conservatives at the last election. hmm

merrymouse Thu 28-Mar-13 20:12:48

So yes the status quo remains the same, but I don't have to subsidise any old employer (cigarette factories, people who mistreat their staff, Ryan air) just because they have badly paid staff.

On the other hand If there are essential industries that require support to function economically ( nurseries?) I'm happy for them to receive financial help.

But surely the status quo would change...At the moment, some people on NMW get tax credits/housing benefit. But how much they get (if at all) depends on the shape of their family i.e. a mother/father working full time to support two children will receive more than a single person who may in fact receive nothing.

If you increase NMW you aren't just increasing it for the people who do get tax credits - you're increasing it for everyone.

I'm not saying that's right or wrong but it will change the dynamics. In reality NMW would have to rise massively to provide adequate income to support a family and it probably never will.

I'm not sure what the answer is

Darkesteyes Thu 28-Mar-13 21:34:47

So as a childless person I can see the bigger picture Clouds but others arent prepared to do that when its the other way around.
Yes an ill partner should be getting some money in their own right but that is in an ideal world and we dont live in that world.
There are many carers who are working and having to support an ill partner. Disabled and ill people are on the recieving end of five seperate benefit cuts from April.

ShellyBoobs Thu 28-Mar-13 22:12:33

If NMW is increased, other wages have to increase, too. If they don't there is no incentive to take a job with more responsibility.

As a result of all wages rising, price inflation would have to follow. Where a loaf of bread cost 1/6 of an hour of NMW, it would suddenly cost 1/6 of an hour of NMW+20% (or whatever).

No one ends up in a better position. Yes, there's 20% more coming in but there's 20% more going out, too.

For people saying Tesco et al could afford to pay much more than NMW, yes they could. But then what? If they start paying £10/hr for NMW jobs, very quickly the current people in the Tesco NMW jobs will find themselves out of work because Tesco's higher wages will attract people capable of more than the people previously employed in those jobs.

Don't get me wrong, I think it would be far, far preferable for NMW to be at such a level that people could actually live on it. It's just not a simple problem to solve.

How about the concept of a maximum wage eg that the CEO of a company is not allowed to earn more than 10X the wage of the lowest paid employee? Because there has to be something a bit wrong with a company that pays the unskilled staff £10 000 a year but the directors £2,000,000 a year. The directors can't be working 200 times harder than the staff.

Darkesteyes Thu 28-Mar-13 22:41:41

Totally agree Solid.

GrendelsMum Thu 28-Mar-13 23:01:08

Perhaps it comes down to where the greatest number of people on NMW are employed?

Tescos probably doesn't care hugely about whether it pays £6 / hour or £9 / hour. They've got to employ a bare minimum number of

Jo Bloggs with a start-up company that consists of herself might well decide that she'd rather risk not taking on another person.

If Tesco employes more people than all the Jo Bloggs's put together, then raising the NMW is probably a good thing.

whois Fri 29-Mar-13 01:01:45

This is fucking rediculos. NMW at 40h a week is take home pay of £965.

Are you telling me that a single person can't live on that a month? Very nice room and bills in a nice shared house in a nice area is around £400, in Leeds for example. Leave over £100 a week for food, clothing and transport.

Minimum wage jobs serve a purpose.

Zero hour contracts are a whole other issue though.

whois Fri 29-Mar-13 01:08:17

Hmmm I can't spell

Solid that is an awful idea. CEO of a massive company will have worked for many years, taken many risks, made many sacrifices of their time. Put work above family and friends and be operating at v high stress levels. Constantly dealing with decisions which will affect the livelyhood of hundred/thousands of other people.

And you think they shouldn't be allowed to be paid more than 10x some 22 year old guy who comes in for 8 hours a day stacking boxes? Um. Yeah.

Tell you what, while we are at it lets have EVERYONE paid the same. And have everyone live in the same standard of homes. Communism worked out so well for other countries :-)

Personally I like the fair pay ratio (nobody earning more than 10x more than the lowest paid employee). It was proposed by the New Economic Foundation and has had a reasonable amount of backing I believe.

10 times what someone else is earning is a big salary, particularly if the company pay their lowest earners at least a living wage, which outside of London is about £15.5k, and in London is around £17.5k. 10 times that is £150,000 plus. Nobody needs to earn more than that in a year.

Comparing it to communism is ridiculous.

merrymouse Fri 29-Mar-13 07:10:18

NMW is roughly the same as the amount I earned 20 years ago when I was doing secretarial and retail jobs in London. Obviously I had brilliant typing skills and I could fold jumpers very well (still can) and wasn't at the bottom of the pay scale, but I wasn't that far off. You could buy a 1 bed flat in a nice area then for about £60k

Maybe there could a local minimum wage in London which would in turn encourage employers out of London?

nkf Fri 29-Mar-13 07:14:06

No-one could make the idea of a wage ratio fly in the UK.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Fri 29-Mar-13 07:18:23

The NMW should go up so the Govt. doesn't, in effect, subsidise company profits with tax credits

merrymouse Fri 29-Mar-13 07:18:49

The other issue is that the higher up a business you go salary becomes less relevant and ownership e.g. Shares and dividends become more relevant.

merrymouse Fri 29-Mar-13 07:46:14

Re: house prices, historically low paid workers have been provided with houses by their employer/the state. Isn't a large part of the discrepancy between wages and housing costs in London due to the state relying on private landlords rather than building houses/having available housing stock?

RubyGates Fri 29-Mar-13 07:51:19

NMW rises:

1.Foreign manufaturers who use British labour will pull out of the market to use cheaper labour else-where leaving workforce unemployed.

2. Small business will not be able to employ as many people, business will run with fewer, more stressed staffed, and eventually fail.

3. The owners who have invested money and hard work into their businesses surely deserve some payment for doing so, and providing employment for other people? NMW will mean that less people are inclined to this and start-ups will be rarer causing less new employment.

Where is the money to pay NMW to come from?
I can't see how NMW will do anything apart from drive more British people (including small business owners) onto the dole queue.

The universal credit idea mooted earlier is a very interesting one, I'd love to see it in action.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 29-Mar-13 08:29:13

But an increased NMW wouldnt increase the amount of money in somebody's pocket. It would just increase the proportion they received as salary and decrease the proportion they received as benefits.

Higher earners might lose salary, but the tax burden would also be reduced (or tax money spent in other ways). It's more about changing the way the money flows in the economy than changing the amount of money in the economy.


If this happened people would get a fair wage and would have to decide how many children they could afford to have based on that. There wouldn't have to be working tax credits to subsidise low wages, there wouldn't have to be child tax credits that result in people getting paid more money based on how many children they have. Childcare could be subsidised to enable working parents to continue to earn, and people wouldn't find themselves unable to afford to work when they have children.

I realise we are talking about an ideal world here Darkest, but when you have a conversation about raising NMW, you are already doing that anyway.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 08:41:56

Obviously it is an idealized conversation, but when nmw was introduced lots of people thought the economy would be fucked and it wasn't.

In practical terms in order to support small businesses like the ops through changes we would also need to be made to employer ni.

More support for groups of people to support businesses would also be helpful - if semi-skilled labour is integral to your business getting started, maybe a package could be offered of shares and a proportion of nmw. Obviously we need to be restricted/regulated to insure that it was only small starter businesses this applied to.

I also support the idea of a pay ratio although I realise this would be very unlikely to go ahead!

Bonsoir Fri 29-Mar-13 08:51:23

There is very poor understanding of the profitability of businesses.

If you run a business with many hundreds of employees and, as CEO, you take home £300,000 a year while most of your staff are on NMW for semi-skilled work and your business just turns a profit, there is nothing unfair about that. You are providing secure employment for many hundreds of people and even if you gave them half your own income it would barely make a difference to their lifestyles.

Whois: do you really think the head of a company works two hundred times harder than an unskilled employee? The difference between earning £15000 a year and £150000 a year seems to me to be a reasonable one.

Bonsoir Fri 29-Mar-13 08:52:31

The issue isn't about who works harder but about who adds more value.

Feminine Fri 29-Mar-13 09:43:04

Despite the more intelligent responses (than mine) I still have to say that

there is something very wrong with a min wage that is not enough to live on without governmental help.

I think many posters would be surprised to learn of the jobs that pay MW. The workers actually have to be skilled.

its not just packing boxes , or stacking shelves.

GrendelsMum Fri 29-Mar-13 09:51:21

I think that we're looking at it in the wrong way - we keep talking about how the people currently on NMW hould be paid more, and the business owner should be paid less.

Why don't we look at getting those people who currently are on NMW to set up their own businesses, just as the OP did?

We've all agreed that the people on NMW are competent, intelligent, hard-working people, with the skills to contribute to a business - why shouldn't that business be their own?

Why shouldn't they earn their own salary of £20k or 40k or 60k from their own independent business, rather than working for someone else?

Feminine Fri 29-Mar-13 09:55:05

I don't think everyone is capable of that though grendels smile

My DH is a fantastic employee , but would struggle with being a boss/setting something up.

Not everyone is cut out to manage.

Being a boss is like a talent (almost) we are not all born with that skill.

We have both been self -employed in the past, however, it just became too risky when we had a family.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 09:55:53

Grendel - because you cannot save a start-up fund on nmw, and banks are extremely reluctant to lend to new businesses. Thus us an ongoing problem that the government is not doing enough (or much at all really) about.

Mumsyblouse Fri 29-Mar-13 10:02:07

One of the real problems though with the current system of tax credits is that it is leading families into underemployment. Many families do not work the maximum they could, with both on the NMW at all. There have been two illuminating threads yesterday, in which the OP revealed that in a household of two adults, they only work 20 hours a week, another thread reveals people living apart though a family so as not to lose tax credits.

So many people are not getting the NMW anyway as they are deliberately working less so as to get their benefits. Surely part of the responsibility is on them to work longer hours as a household (like most people do when they don't have enough money). How much would the NMW have to go up if people are only working 20 hours, or living apart to look poorer?

freerangelady Fri 29-Mar-13 10:49:06

Exactly feminine - risky. Another major factor in why bosses should be paid more. Paying bosses 10x the workers salary is in my opinion an awful idea. My workers don't have to go into work and cover on Easter Sunday because someone else has gone sick. In fact, they can go sick - bar life threatening illnesses if you run your own business you don't have that option. I think profit sharing is a much more viable alternative.

On the nmw bit - we run a small business that employs a few part time workers on just above nmw doing unskilled work producing a food stuff you all consume in one way or another every day. Would you be prepared to pay more for it in the supermarket? If so fair play but I see a lo of threads on here worried about the rising cost of fuel. We also chose to employ local people on school hours because we thought it would help locals and fit in well with our business.

freerangelady Fri 29-Mar-13 10:49:47

Sorry food not fuel.

Darkesteyes Fri 29-Mar-13 13:50:14

I still dont see why a childless person should be expected to struggle on minimum wage just because they dont have children.
Either because they have decided they cant afford it or they are suffering the pain of infertility.

its almost saying that people with children will get more help for that choice (and i DO support this. Check my posting history) but people without kids can be penalized for their choice.
Single people households are not just those under 35. Many older people are finding themselves single at an older age with rent/mortgages and council tax just like everybody else.
But fuck you for being on your own. You can just struggle. hmm

Darkesteyes Fri 29-Mar-13 13:52:36

It also causes division in the workplace. If a childless person is working with a parent with your attitude whois they might not be very forthcoming to cover for you at work when its time for sportsdays/dentist appointments.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 29-Mar-13 13:55:46

Childless people wouldn't have to struggle on NMW if it was higher. There would be no need for child tax credits or working tax credits, and no one one be penalised either way, unlike the way things are at the moment.

If NMW paid enough for a person to live a reasonable life on, then anyone having children would have to stretch the budget they already had without getting more money because they chose to have children.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 29-Mar-13 13:56:49

I completely agree with you darkesteyes - Part of the benefit of raising nmw (as I see it) is that it will help those on low incomes who don't have any dependents and so get very little/no help from the government via benefits currently.

ConferencePear Fri 29-Mar-13 14:04:15

I'm with CloudsAndTrees on this.
I've really tried but I can't think that it's right that someone should work hard all week and not earn enough money to live on.

GrendelsMum Fri 29-Mar-13 15:59:36

I think a lot of people are effectively running their own businesses without realising it - whether that's a one woman ironing business, or two friends together doing cleaning. They do it without worrying about start-up costs or formal business plans, and they're often exactly the people whose other options are NMW.

I think we need to recognise that entrepreneurial spirit and talent in those around us, and encourage others to take the same step.

If not, I think the issue is that you replace a mindset of 'be grateful for what the boss gives you' with a mindset of 'be grateful for what the government tells the boss to give you'.

GrendelsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 20:02:36

DH and I were chatting about this over the weekend, and I thought I'd share our experience regarding some of the other suggestions on this thread.

Some people have suggested that more small / medium businesses should include profit sharing among all employees. In our experience, that actually doesn't work terribly well. Because no-one knows how much they're going to get, people can't budget for it, or rely on it, and so it's not that useful. We found that the majority of people would rather have a slightly higher reliable salary, than the potential for a larger bonus at the end of the year. The other problem is that people don't necessarily feel its fair - they see their colleague get the same bonus, even if they feel the colleague didnt put so much work in.

We then gave people the opportunity to have some of their wages made up out of commission from sales that they made. Again, people felt it wasn't reliable as a source of income and so it wasn't very popular.

Because of this, we've now moved to performance-related bonuses which is an attempt to recognise people's hard work. We'll see how this goes, i think, but so far it's nice to say "X, you've taken on extra work with Y gone, and so here's a bonus for those months." Again, it isn't reliable as an income source, but at least people seem to feel they've been recognised.

(I should say that we don't pay anyone we employ directly less than a living wage.)

Grendelsmum: But it's not that easy to set up a small business on your own, even if you have a useful skill - if you have no spare money at all. Most businesses require some money to being with, for supplies/stock/transport/advertising. Even if you set yourself up as a cleaner-for-hire with a card in the local newsagents' window, you need to buy mops and dusters and bottles of detergent, you need to pay the newsagent for putting up your card, and you need to be sure that 20 of your neighbours haven't had the same idea. If you have a knack for creating a delicious foodstuff, you need to have your kitchen properly kitted out and pass an inspection if you are going to sell the foodstuff to other people. Quite a lot of goods and services that an individual could produce or offer from home are things that most people don't really need but might want - however, particularly at the moment, if most people can get the same thing from Asda at half the price, they will not pay the extra for the 'support local traders' brownie points.

GrendelsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:52:48

SGB - that's true to some extent, and it's the objection my DH made when discussing it, but I think it's important not to assume that independent businesses can only be the preserve of the wealthy, as that then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the most trivial level, for example, quite a lot of cleaners get their employers to provide the mops, dusters and detergent, which gets round those start up costs, so you're then down to the cost of the newsagents' window.

For example, I heard about a terrific niche business the other day, where a man had used a skill he'd learnt as a total by-product of training to work at a company, to set up on his own after he'd been made redundant. Apparently his wife had spotted how people could make use of this skill, created a website using a free service, and they were pretty much up and running.

I'm not saying that everyone can do this, but I genuinely don't think that we should tell ourselves that only the rich can work for themselves, and everyone else has to tug their forelocks to them.

DialsMavis Mon 01-Apr-13 21:57:39

Some of us work for NMW and don't get TCs etc! I work my arse off NMW 2 eves a week and one day (basically whenever DP can take time off, he works 6 days a week do that we can pay the rent) DPs basic earnings are just above the threshold for TCs etc, but our rent is £1500 PCM on our cold, dated house. I worked very fucking hard at university and graduated last year with a pretty good degree. However I can't get a job that would even break even on childcare and even ones that would leave us out of pocket (something we can't do, not really surviving as it is) have around 200 applicants. Its shit!

LahleeMooloo Mon 01-Apr-13 21:59:58

Something in this country is broke. There aren't enough jobs. A full time isn't a guarantee that you'll be able to afford to clothe, feed and house your children. I am not clever enough to know what the answer is, but I do know that something is terribly wrong with the whole shebang.

abbscrosswoman Mon 01-Apr-13 22:27:58

What do we think a living wage should be ? Presumably this would also equate to the NMW ? If adopted at this level, what benefits would/should end ?

How much in benefits should be paid to people who don't/ can't work and earn a living wage?

If this were to increase the Social Security bill, what government spending would you cut or what taxes would you increase/ create ?

GrendelsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 22:33:41

AbbsCrossWoman - no idea if this would work, but DH and I were toying with the idea of upping the NMW and cutting taxes on business at the same time, so that from the business perspective things evened out, but that employees got all their income from their wages, rather than from benefits. But, as I said, we don't employ anyone on NMW and can't see that changing in the future, so it's not necessarily our area of expertise.

WafflyVersatile Mon 01-Apr-13 23:31:07

Employers should have to pay a living wage, of course you fucking should, but this is not an answer on its own. Lots of things need to be different. the whole system is fucked.

Basically, the answer to the problem of poverty is getting more money to the poor. When they have more money, they spend more money, thus improving trade and encouraging more people to set up more little businesses. One of the obvious faults with this scheme to award the poor food vouchers they can only spend in Asda, for instance, is that it's better all round for people to buy their fruit and veg at the local market: cheaper, fresher, supporting a local trader etc.
There is a big, obvious problem in that a percentage of rich people have become rich and are getting richer by making other people poorer. The subcontracting out of public services to agencies mean the state is paying agency fees as well as wages: the agency pays itself a big chunk and underpays the worker...

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