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MINIMUM WAGE IS MAXIMUM PRIORITY - DTI MINISTER

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The national minimum wage will bring many benefits to businesses, workers and the economy, said Ian McCartney minis...
The national minimum wage will bring many benefits to businesses, workers and the economy, said Ian McCartney minister of state at the DTI.

That is why the minimum wage is a top priority for this government and legislation is in the first session of the new parliament, he added.

Mr McCartney was speaking today during the first sitting of the common's committee to scrutinise the Bill.

Mr McCartney said after the committee meeting:

'The minimum wage is a maximum priority for this government. A minimum wage will:

end the scandal of low pay - no longer will unscrupulous employers pay sweat shop wages to people who have to work long hours to earn barely enough to live on.

prevent under-cutting in the market place - stop competition based on cost through low wages and encourage firms to compete on the basis of quality.

be an important rung on the new ladder from welfare into work - in conjunction with the reform of the tax and benefit system and the New Deal, we will promote work incentives and provide people with the skills and opportunities to move into work.

'The piecemeal withdrawal of minimum standards in the workplace over the past 18 years has fostered a low cost, low quality, low pay culture which this government is determined to replace with one based on high quality, decency and fairness.'

Barbara Roche, the DTI's small firms minister, who is supporting Mr McCartney in the committee stage said:

'The minimum wage will be a universal entitlement and all firms, whatever their size, will be covered by the legislation.

'Small firms are vital to the economy and we have asked the Low Pay Commission to give particular regard to these business in its recommendations to the government on the minimum wage.'

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