X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Osborne rains on Miliband’s parade with wage announcement

16 January 2014

5:37 PM

16 January 2014

5:37 PM

What an odd coincidence that on the eve of what’s being billed as a major economic speech by Ed Miliband, George Osborne sticks up his periscope and makes a big fat announcement on the minimum wage. The Chancellor and his colleagues have been mulling this increase for months, and have been making confusing but supportive noises over the past few weeks, and this evening would have seemed an odd time for the Chancellor to give an interview to the BBC on the subject if Osborne weren’t famed for being such an enthusiastic strategist. He told Nick Robinson that Britain could afford an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage:

‘The exact figure has to be set by the Low Pay Commission which talks to business, talks to other bodies in our economy, but if, for example, the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be £7 by 2015-16 – it’s £6.31 at the moment – so that’s an increase. I think we can see an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage, do it in a way that actually supports our economy precisely because the economy is recovering and many, many jobs are being created.’

[Alt-Text]


The reason for the timing is simple: Osborne wants to rain on Miliband’s parade by making an eye-catching announcement that underlines that Labour, as the Opposition, is powerless, while the Tories in government are powering on and making decisions. He will also have noted that Labour’s minimum wage debate in the Commons yesterday, which had caused a little consternation in the party about messaging, was a rather awkward flop (although that hasn’t stopped some MPs trying to say ‘oooh, you didn’t back our non-binding opposition day debate motion!’), and so he can insert his announcement after that flop, and hopefully make tomorrow’s Miliband speech a flop too.

But it’s not just the timing. It’s also the language that the Chancellor used. He said ‘we’ve worked hard to get to this point’, underlining the contrast that he wants to draw between the Coalition’s ‘long-term economic plan’ and Labour’s policy. He wants to undermine Miliband’s credibility once more, just before the chap has even stood up to deliver his speech. And he wants to undermine Labour’s cost of living attack by making a gesture that suggests the Tories are interested in helping families struggling with rising prices (even if he can’t help them with their gym membership).

Update, 18:30: Iain Duncan Smith, not always an ally of Osborne’s (to put it mildly), has welcomed the move. He says:

‘I welcome this bold move by the chancellor. It shows that at the heart of all our reforms this government is concerned to improve the quality of life for the poorest in society. The commitment to a higher national minimum wage is all part of ensuring that the economic recovery delivers for people who want to work hard and play by the rules.’

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close