Philip Hammond is seriously considering a major increase to the minimum wage as he seeks to secure a legacy of ending low pay, it has emerged.
Several sources familiar with the chancellor’s thinking told the Observer they believed he was pushing to look at the “ambitious end” of what would be possible without damaging Britain’s employment levels, suggesting he is contemplating going further than any developed nation.
A proposal under discussion would see the minimum wage pushed up to 66% of median earnings, meeting the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s definition of low pay. It would allow the chancellor to say he had set a course to end low pay in Britain. The chancellor held a meeting with Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), last week, and he is understood to be meeting other union leaders at a round table this week. One government source said: “The chancellor is very concerned about poverty and sees this as one avenue of tackling it.”