From next month the national minimum wage (NMW) increases to £6.31 an hour for adults and to a derisory £5.03 for those aged 18 to 21. I say derisory as these same 18 to 21 year olds are accepted as adults for everything other than the NMW.

At the same time as the NMW we have the ‘living wage’ which is paid on a purely optional basis.

Three queries then:

1. How is the living wage calculated?

2. Who calculates it?

3. If the money it is thought that a worker needs to earn to cover the basic cost of living in London is £8.55 an hour, how can the NMW of £6.31 per enough?

Those on the NMW are potentially those on benefits. At a time when the coalition is going all out to reduce the number of people receiving benefits wouldn’t it make more sense to adopt the ‘living wage’ as the NMW?

Employers may not, however, buy into this.

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