One of the flagship proposals in Ed Miliband’s policy manifesto is his plan for a “living wage” which would mean workers getting no less than £7.60 an hour (we’ve looked at it before here). This would not be imposed on companies by law. Instead they would be offered tax breaks in return for instigating the policy.
Mili-E (pictured) claims this would not cost anything because there would be a corresponding fall in the cost of tax credits and benefits. The problem is, he has not produced any costings to show how this maths would work.
George Parker and I interviewed Ed Balls last Friday (the result is here) and he reserved some of his strongest criticism for the other Ed’s living wage policy. Not only did he point out that he had implemented it in the education department when he was a minister – while Miliband had not at DECC.
He also questioned whether Mili-E had done his maths. “It seems to me that there would be a substantial extra cost either to the exchequer or to business,” he pointed out.
Balls was also critical of the way in which the Miliband brothers always talk about “values” in their speeches and interviews (although, to be clear, he didn’t mention them by name). “People talk about values as if somehow this is distinctive,” he said. “The implication is that somehow other candidates don’t.”