Letter to Editor: Praise for Conservative government over Autumn Statement

Business / Wed 22nd Nov 2023 at 03:37pm

Dear Editor,

OUR Conservative government should be praised for raising the National Living Wage (NLW) this week with full acceptance of Low Pay Commission (LPC) recommendations. This will be the largest ever increase in the minimum wage in cash terms and the first time that all rates have increased by more than £1, bringing the adult hourly rate to £11.44 on April 1, 2024.

Moreover, the Conservatives have achieved their target ahead of schedule by making the NLW equal to two-thirds of median hourly pay for those aged 21 and over before October 2024. In addition, the NLW will be extended to 21 and 22 year olds, fulfilling a recommendation the LPC first made in 2019.

There are big increases of 21.2% for apprentices and for workers aged 16 and 17 years of age bringing the hourly rate to £6.40 from April 2024. Those aged 18 to 20 get an above inflation rise of 14.8% to increase the hourly rate to £8.60.

Given the uncertainty many small and medium businesses are facing with fuel and borrowing costs soaring it is to the credit of the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt that these big increases for young workers have been agreed.

It is important to note that the LPC is an independent advisory public body that includes representatives from the business and trade union sectors. The LPC’s Chair Bryan Stevenson said: 

“Our new recommendation of a National Living Wage of £11.44 attempts to steer a path through this uncertainty and achieve the government target of two-thirds of the median wage, an outcome which if accepted would position the U.K. at the forefront of comparable economies.”

We should acknowledge that many external factors, such as the war in Ukraine, have increased the cost of living. Despite this, Rishi Sunak’s government has achieved the first of its five priorities ahead of target by halving the rate of inflation rate to 4.6% this month. 

If this good news on the economy continues, the Labour Party will find the next general election a tougher prospect. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer makes their election campaign more difficult by ignoring public opinion over Gaza, which prompted a Guardian journalist to describe Starmer’s attitude as “a heartless intransigence”.


David Forman

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9 Comments for Letter to Editor: Praise for Conservative government over Autumn Statement:

2023-11-22 16:09:51

Too little too late. All fur coat...And generally in the wrong direction on energy, economics, environment and education.

2023-11-22 18:29:44

Highest tax burden since the war and this budget sets it to get higher. Appalling public services and a crumbling infrastructure. Not that great at all Mr Foreman.

Gary Roberts
2023-11-22 18:53:48

Perhaps Mr. Forman should read the OBR report and IFS analysis of the fiscal event before praising the Tories.

2023-11-22 18:59:49

It is so good to see that YOUR Conservative government is so proud of raising the National Living Wage, especially as YOUR Conservative government doesn't have to pay for this raise. It is so good to see that YOUR Conservative government is taking the credit for lowering inflation when it didn't take the responsibility when inflation was going up. It is so good to see that YOUR Conservative government is taking credit for inflation when it is the Bank of England's responsibility to get inflation to 2%-ish. Which they have been doing using the restricted tools they have available. David Forman, will YOUR Conservative government also recognise that YOU are responsible for the dodgy concrete in schools and other buildings? Will YOUR Conservative government also take credit for trashing the economy under Liz Truss? Will YOUR Conservative government also take credit for killing pensioners during the pandemic? Will YOUR Conservative government also take credit for the fraudulent contracts given to donors to YOUR Conservative government during the pandemic at taxpayers expense?

2023-11-22 19:11:56

Fully agree with raising the National Living wage. From the govt perspective with so many working people on universal credit presumably this number will be reduced so the cost thus passes to employers plus 43.8% will go back to the govt in taxation (for those already earning£12570pa). That said I feel bigger rises should have been given last year, this may have helped cool the job market and reduced inflation thus perhaps reducing interest rate rises. As for inflation, the target was to halve it by the end of the year. Lets get to 17th Jan (when Dec figures will be released) for confirmation. After all, as Spurs and Arsenal fans know, you don't win the league by being top in December (both can win it this year)

2023-11-22 20:39:31

Remember labours Harold Wilson when he said "One man's wage increase is another man's price rise" The living wage increase will be particularly hard for the hospitality industry.

2023-11-22 22:22:15

What Mr Hunt didn't mention is because of his sleight of hand in keeping tax thresholds frozen, people will be paying more tax next year. Sophy Ridge, Sky News, today talking about fiscal drag. Basically means more people being dragged into paying a higher rate of tax without the government actually increasing nominal tax rates. Low paid workers income raising above tax threshold for first will pay tax. This is a stealth tax. She says " Fiscal drag will raise £12.4bn next year.....and then it goes up REALLY fast....rising to £44.6bn in five years time. £44 BILLION! We really are through the looking glass ". " To put it in context, right now the entire budget for the department of transport is £28bn." Tax cuts or tax con?

2023-11-22 22:54:48

https://news.sky.com/story/smoke-and-mirrors-autumn-statement-shows-election-politics-are-on-beth-rigby-13013818 Explains better me!

2023-11-25 13:51:08

It is rather strange, either people believing this nonsense or expecting others to believe it, as if the last 13 odd years had never happened... delluded.

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