The Living Wage Commission has pronounced: yes, it would be an exceedingly good idea if everyone got the living wage. Bit difficult to think of them saying anything else really, eh?
When this was all first announced, the existence of the Commission and the preparing of this report, I took the time to write to the Archbishop. To make my usual point that the difference between this desired living wage and the current minimum wage is entirely the income tax and national insurance that we, heinously, try to charge to the working poor. Clearly not much note was taken of this point for in the report they note that:
Savings and additional revenue An analysis of the impact of the fiscal impact and public sector cost of extending coverage of the Living Wage provided by Landman Economics for the Living Wage Commission shows that universal coverage of the Living Wage would result in a net increase in revenue to the Treasury of £4.2 billion. This is shown in Figure 3 and is made up of an additional £2.8 billion in increased tax and National Insurance receipts, together with a decrease in in-work benefit and tax credit spending of £1.4 billion.
It's not just that they've ignored the point it's that they positively revel in it. They really are saying that it's a good idea that we should raise the incomes of the poor so that they can pay more in tax. Completely missing the point that what we actually desire is that the poor have more money after tax, more money to consume with, meaning that we should be attempting to reduce the tax bill on those working poor.
This isn't just an economic point this has crossed over into being a moral one. They're glorying in the idea of taking more money out of the pockets of the poor: this is simply an inexcusable moral stance.