Labour leader hopefuls attack Osborne’s ‘living wage’ rebrand, but where was Burnham?

Written by @singersz on 9 July 2015 in Diary

Labour’s four leadership hopefuls have all criticised George Osborne for rebranding the living wage.

In yesterday’s Budget, the chancellor said the new ‘national living wage’ would start at £7.20 per hour, reaching £9 by 2020. It is to be compulsory for over-25s.

The existing living wage, as judged by the Living Wage Foundation is £7.85 per hour across the UK and £9.15 in London.

Andy Burnham said it was a “slap in the face for young people” that under-25s would be excluded from the compulsory level.

Liz Kendall said the description of the new wage as a ‘living wage’ was a “con”,

Yvette Cooper said it “still falls short” of being a real living wage. She also pointed to research from the House of Commons Library which she said indicates women are paying £24bn of the £34bn net extra raised in the Budget from households.

And Jeremy Corbyn agreed that a living wage was “not what George Osborne has delivered”. 

The Labour party’s paper of choice is similarly unimpressed, with the Guardian’s leader stating:

“A welcome hike in the minimum wage offers the perfect cover for a war on the welfare state. It provides unusually cunning political cover but this will eventually be blown away by the experience of the cuts."

Yet after Kendall, Cooper and Corbyn were variously on the TV or in the Commons talking about the Budget, one senior Labour MP has accused Andy Burnham of going into hiding.

HuffPo's Paul Waugh has the offending lines in his morning memo:

"Where the f*ck’s Andy Burnham been today? You can’t go missing in action when you’re leader of the Labour party.

"No wonder he’s hiding, he was crap at the number stuff when he was chief secretary."

On Twitter today, Burnham has said he will lauch a campaign to secure a "living wage for everyone".




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