Professor Gregor Gall writes for The National on the history of the national minimum wage
On 24 July, Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations, Gregor Gall, wrote a feature piece marking 25 years since the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 was passed.
Professor Gall describes the Act’s importance in the 1997 General Election in aiding Labour in their ‘landslide victory’ and it how it has been viewed as a ‘flagship achievement’ of the party in the years since.
However, Professor Gall points out that the roll-out of the Act was far less successful. He notes that it had little enforcement up until 10 years ago and that the different levels of pay according to age fails to account for the ‘reality that the cost of living for any adult is pretty much the same, no matter their age’.
In his piece, Professor Gall also assesses the effectiveness of the national minimum wage in ‘ending or ameliorating low pay and poverty’ and concludes that it has ‘effectively legitimised low pay by giving it a statutory underpinning’.
Looking at what may happen to the national minimum wage in the future, Professor Gall comments:
Starmer plans no changes to the minimum wage and has shown his fiscally conservative nature by lowering the expectations of what people can hope for from a Labour government. He is continually making clear that substantial and much-needed change is not on the agenda for Labour.