FOUR million hard-working Brits will get a pay rise to £10.50 an hour by 2024, Sajid Javid promised today.
Speaking to a packed hall this afternoon, he said the news would “help the next generation of go-getters to get ahead”.
The National Living Wage is currently £8.21, but that only applies to people over 25.
He also promised to bring millions more people into the higher rate of pay by lowering that age limit down to 21.
Mr Javid told the party’s conference in Manchester: “Over the next five years, we will make the UK the first [major economy in the world] to end low pay altogether.
“To do that, I am setting a new target for the National Living Wage: raising it to match two-thirds of median earnings.
“That means, on current forecasts, this ambitious plan will bring the National Living Wage up to £10.50.
“Giving four million people a well-earned pay rise.”
He insisted that the Tories were the “workers’ party” and said it was “clear the Conservatives are the real party of labour.”
The Tories renamed the National Minimum Wage as the National Living Wage in 2016 – and hiked it for millions of workers.
It went up again for 1.8million workers in April 2019 – to the current rate of £8.21.
Today’s announcement means Brits over 25 are set to get an extra £1,900 per year more than they would have done if the rates hadn’t changed – the equivalent of around £1 an hour.
Think tank the Resolution Foundation hailed today’s huge pledge.
“The Chancellor’s announcement today to eliminate low pay by the middle of the decade is hugely ambitious, and hugely welcome, Nye Cominetti, Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said.
“However, announcing the policy is the easy part. Eliminating low pay over the next five years without any significant employment effects is not without risks.
“The Chancellor must match his boldness with a measured approach towards hitting his goal, by closely involving the Low Pay Commission.”
Labour has pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10 an hour by 2020 and to include all workers under 18 in that – who currently get a minimum wage of £4.35.
But Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell shrugged off the announcement and claimed Labour’s would help more people.
“Pathetic attempt at catch up by Tories will fool nobody,” he said today.
“Labour will introduce £10 as a minimum as soon as we take office and, rising with living costs, it will mean everyone over 16 years old will be earning comfortably more than £10.50 an hour by 2024.”
What is the current minimum wage and living wage?
Age 25 and over (Living Wage) £8.21
Age 21 – 24 (Minimum Wage): £7.70
Age 18 – 20: £6.15
Under 18s: £4.35
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In his first major speech to Tory conference, he also pledged that Brexit will take place in DAYS – deal or no deal.
The Chancellor told Tory party delegates that Britain was ready to leave the EU now.
Mr Javid said: “It’s not a matter of if – it’s a matter of days.
“Thirty one days – deal, or no deal.
Mr Javid also tore into Remainer MPs after it was revealed that an Alliance group plans to make the PM beg Brussels for a Brexit extension earlier than planned.
They’re so split down the middle… that even their leader and their Shadow Chancellor don’t agree on whether they support Brexit.
He told them that “democracy isn’t just for when it suits you” and accused them of “tearing the very fabric of democracy”.
And Mr Javid used his keynote speech to reveal a major overhaul of the nation’s creaking bus network to help struggling Brits get about.
£25bn was pledged for road projects, £220m for bus improvements and £5bn for digital infrastructure too.