So we've had the announcement of the new Living Wage rate: that level of income which allows a full year, full time, worker to earn and not be in poverty in the UK. That definition being, rightly, what people think people should be able to do and not be in poverty: as with Adam Smith's linen shirt.
That number that has been announced? 7.65 an hour.
But as I have been shouting for years that is a pre-tax number: that's the earnings before the State gets its grubby mitts on these paltry earnings of the working poor.
If you do work full time full year at that Living Wage rate you'll get 14,917.50 over the course of the year. I don't think that's a large amount and I'm sure that you don't either. Which is why it is so appalling that at this low level of income said Living Wage worker will be charged 1,095.50 in income tax and 1,110.00 in employees' national insurance. For a net income of 12,712.00
Compare and contrast this with the 12,304.50 that someone would earn on the national minimum wage of 6.31 an hour, if no tax were charged on it, and we can see that what we have here is not wages which are too low, it is taxes which are too high.
And of course there is also employers' NI of a further 1,100 or so: opinions differ as to how much of that is really carried by the employee, most to possibly all being the general view.
The reason that the national minimum wage is not a living wage is because government taxes the working poor too much. We do not have a low wage problem at all, we have instead tax poverty.
And, as is ritual now on this point, if you want the working poor to have more money just stop taxing them so damn much.