Poverty Reduction

Enforce the minimum wage and increase it at the same rate that average earnings increase  - The minimum wage is one of the few real achievements of Labour in power (largely due to pressure from trade unions) and it’s been steadily increased, which is also real progress. There are still too many cases of employers paying less than the minimum wage though. It needs to be better enforced by employing more people to check it’s being paid.

Simpler, fairer benefits and taxes – Scrap tax credits and replace them with no income tax on the first £15,000 of individual income. Tax credits and existing benefits are ridiculously complicated, resulting in £16 billion in benefits and tax credits going unclaimed by people entitled to them each year compared to only £1 billion a year going to benefit fraudsters. The over-complicated benefits system results in those who are entitled to benefits not receiving them and allows for fraud by those who know the system inside out. With simpler fairer taxes and benefits those not in work will be able to claim benefit and those going into relatively low paid jobs will not end up with less money in work than they had on benefits.

Create Jobs – The other way to reduce poverty is to create more jobs and give people who lack skills apprenticeships so they can get those skills. For policies to create those jobs and apprentice ships see my policies on Job Creation

Guarantee State Pensions – and raise them by index linking raises in them to increases in average earnings. Pensioners should not have to end their lives having to choose between eating and heating their homes.