Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
3 August 2016

Labour challenger Owen Smith pledges “true“ living wage for all adults

The challenger for the Labour leadership rails against in-work poverty. 

By Julia Rampen

Owen Smith is to pledge to match the “true” living wage of £8.25 in a speech in Milton Keynes today. 

The Labour leadership challenger will also promise to extend the new, higher minimum wage to all adults. Employers are only obliged to pay the current wage of £7.20 to workers aged 25 and above.

Smith will also set out plans to tilt power in favour of workers, such as scrapping employment tribunal fees and repealing the Trade Unions Act.

He is expected to say: “For the last six years British workers have experienced a perfect Tory storm of falling wages, the watering down of workers’ rights and cruel cuts to social security.”

And in a rebuke to his rival, Jeremy Corbyn, he will add: “What’s desperately needed is not more slogans, but a clear plan of action which offers solutions.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

According to Smith’s team, this higher living wage would give workers aged 18-20 an immediate pay rise of £5,369 a year, those aged 21-25 one of £2,821, and those over 25 a boost of £1,911. 

Smith’s determination to tack to the left in the Labour leadership contest has provoked the Corbyn camp to point out many of his policies build on their own. 

But Smith’s selling point is not originality – it is his ability to deliver. 

To this end, his campaign is stuffed with wonkish aims, such as transforming the Low Pay Commission into a Living Wage Delivery Unit tasked with recommending pay increases, and a High Pay Commission “to consult on the introduction of maximum pay ratios between the top earners and average earners for private sector providers of public services”.

Corbyn launched his campaign with pledges to end justice and discrimination. You can read more about his policies here

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action