'Doubling minimum wage will destroy jobs': Political strategist hits out at Labour vote

28 September 2021, 10:20 | Updated: 28 September 2021, 10:22

By Fiona Jones

A minimum wage rise would "destroy jobs", warns political strategist to Tony Blair John McTernan, ahead of Labour's vote on whether hourly rates will rise to £15 an hour if the party wins power.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer has clarified he will not encourage party members to back or reject the motion which will take place in Brighton later today at the party conference.

Shadow employment secretary Andy McDonald resigned on Monday, citing his reason for doing so as party leadership failing to back this idea.

Strategist John McTernan told LBC's Nick Ferrari, "The Labour Party, when it brought in the minimum wage, set up the low paid commission to advise governments on the minimum level it should be.

"[The party] understood then, as Andy MacDonald clearly doesn't and many on the left don't understand, you can set a minimum wage that is so high that it destroys jobs.

"It doesn't help workers to get a notional pay raise if there's no job to go to.

"£15 an hour is clearly too high, it was give a guaranteed salary of £31,000 a year - it's currently the median hourly pay in the UK. The minimum wage is a minimum not an average."

He said: "This is just some kind of emotional spasm, emotional Trotskyism...it's a demand that we adopt a policy that will wreck the economy.

"The Labour Party has to set a minimum wage which is right for workers and right for the economy because there is no point in having a minimum wage that destroys jobs."

Mr McTernan continued that people in the party "shouldn't be afraid" of contesting the left group's proposition in today's debate: "There's a reason why you have a minimum wage and there's a reason why you have advice on how to set it. You can price some people out of a job."

The current minimum wage is £8.91 for those 23 and over, £8.36 for those aged 21 to 22 and £6.56 for 18 to 20 year olds.

Read more: Shadow Home Secretary unsure how much the minimum wage is

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