Britain's Labour Party to link minimum wage to earnings

LONDON Mon May 19, 2014 3:02am EDT

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LONDON May 19 (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband will promise on Monday to link the minimum wage to average earnings.

The rising cost of everything from gas to train tickets has shot up the political agenda since the return of economic growth forced the Labour party to shift its line of attack ahead of the 2015 election to the decline in real incomes.

Earnings in Britain have lagged behind inflation since the financial crisis, which pushed the country into recession, a development which Miliband is due to say has left those earning the minimum wage lagging behind other earners.

"A Labour government will establish a clear link between the level of the minimum wage and the scale of wages paid to other workers in our economy," Miliband is due to say in a speech on Monday.

The change, which would be delivered over the course of a five-year parliament, would help tackle poverty and low pay.

The Conservative party's finance minister George Osborne in January gave his backing to a rise to Britain's minimum wage.

Across the economy as a whole, 3.7 per cent of jobs were paid at or below the minimum wage in April 2011, according to the Low Pay Commission, which recommends its level.

Wages for lower-paid workers are due to get a boost later this year when the national minimum wage rises by 3 percent. (Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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