The first of the 'Big-3' puts pay and benefits in the spotlight


In what will be a busy week for the launch of election manifestoes, Labour was first off the blocks today, promising workers more money in their pockets with a rise in the minimum wage, and free childcare.

In a speech announcing the 83-page document, he pledged an £8 minimum wage to come into force by October 2019, with supporting ‘Make Work Pay’ contracts for employers that would would give them tax rebates.

He also made a bold statement on childcare, saying: “For working parents, we will not just have 25 hours free nursery care for three and four year olds, but we will go further. The next Labour government will introduce a new national childcare service to work with primary schools. To help guarantee that, wrap-around childcare will be there for every working parent that wants it.”

The manifesto contains promises to ban most zero-hours contracts and an increase in the top rate of tax to 50p for people earning more than £150,000 pa.

Business group, the British Chamber of Commerce has given a mixed response to the election pledges. BCC Director General, John Longworth praised Labour for setting out “a number of sound policies,” but added: 'At the same time, some of the tax and regulatory plans proposed by Labour need a re-think - to ensure these do not negatively affect enterprise and entrepreneurial aspiration.”

Ed Miliband said Labour was 'pro-business, not pro-business as usual,' saying every policy announcement will be fully funded.