PoliticsHome revealed back in March that a Tory backbencher was putting forward a private members bill proposing a cut in the minimum wage in parts of the country. As Paul Waugh pointed out, the bill was mysteriously removed from the parliamentary agenda by unseen hands.
But the bill is about to pop up again in a debate tomorrow for its second reading. It is once again proposed by Chope and is backed by Robert Syms, Ian Liddel-Grainger, Nigel Evans and Brian Binley.
Chope – who believes the move could help small business – may have some support in Tory circles. But the lobbying against the original minimum wage, over a decade ago, (on the basis that it would prompt employers to cut jobs) is now widely seen as misplaced. The debate has moved on, at least in London, to whether a bigger “living wage” should be appropriate for cleaners and others living off low incomes.
Gareth Thomas, shadow business minister, said:
This is the carefully hidden part of the Conservative Party laid bare; this Bill would drive a coach and horses through the rules enforcing the minimum wage and raise the spectre of ever decreasing wages for Britain’s lowest paid and most vulnerable working people.