Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Millions of workers cheated out of the minimum wage

Issue No. 2593

Britain's lowest earners are being cheated out of the minimum wage, a new report has revealed.

Figures released last week show up to two million people, who should get at least £7.50 an hour, could be losing out.

Common causes of underpayment include failing to pay workers for travel between jobs and deducting money for uniforms.

Investigations by the HM Revenue and Customs discovered 98,150 workers were paid less than the entitlement in 2016/17.

But the statistics from the House of Commons Library also take into account unpaid time, which affects people who often work more than their contracted hours without getting overtime.

According to the report, Minimum wage: cracks in the floor, once unpaid time is taken into account, between one and two million workers are likely to be being underpaid.

The minimum wage currently stands at £7.50 an hour for workers aged 25 and over.

This will rise to £7.83 in April.

  • Real household incomes over the past decade have grown at less than half the rate than official government figures claim.

    New data shows households have suffered the worst growth in real wages in 50 years.

    The research from the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence and the Office for National Statistics shows that real household income grew by only 0.2 percent a year in the decade to 2015-16, rather than the 0.52 percent shown in official figures. The government’s statistics for measuring living standards are skewed in favour of wealthier households.


Government organise gun and handcuff sale

The Home Office has invited various repressive regimes next month to browse stalls selling surveillance technology and crowd control equipment at a “security” trade fair it is running.

The “Security & Policing” event started out as a way for suppliers to show off their wares to the cops.

But since 2010 the government has invited “overseas government security-related delegates” to the fair.

This year it takes place on 6-8 March at Farnborough, promoting “legitimate defence and security exports”.

The Home Office organises the event with the defence industry trade body, ADS Group, and the UK govemment’s arms sales unit.

They invite and provides escorts for “security” delegations from more than 70 nations.

The current list of invitees is secret.

As well as flogging sniper rifes, shotguns, batons and handcuffs, the exhibition promotes cyber-spying firms that have been accused of helping repressive governments.


Peers find cheaper food hard to stomach

Peers have whined that the subsidised meals they get in the House of Lords are “truly horrible”.

One made an official complaint that the nosh is so bad it raises “health issues”.

Another moaned he was served “uneatable” roast beef in the swanky Peers’ Dining Room, where a gourmet two-course lunch can be had from the set menu for just £14.95.

He said of his meat, “It was grossly overcooked, and so tough it was almost impossible to cut with a knife.”

The three main eateries in the Lords, where peers get £300 a day to show up, cost £1.2 million in subsidies last year.

The peer who moaned about his roast told how he was entertaining guests and faced the “huge embarrassment” of having to apologise to them.

Another peer moaned “The only virtue of these two dishes was that they were minute in scale."


  • The Tories accepted a £10,000 donation from a company run by property tycoon James Tuttiett. He made a fortune through owning the freehold of 40,000 homes and schools across Britain. He charges ground rent which gets more expensive every year. Housing secretary Sajid Javid called it “an unjustifiable way to print money”. Last July Javid launched a consultation on leasehold propetiers. The donation came shortly afterwards.

  • Reality television’s Stanley Johnson reveals an “unfulfilled” ambition—“To do what I can to limit the growth of the world’s population.” Would it be rude to mention that, as a father of six, he’s made a bit of a shaky start?

    Though if he feels the need to cut the number of Johnsons, who are we to stop him?


Streeting's Bleatings

Wes Streeting is nominally a Labour MP. This is an occasional series on his wisdom

Last week on the university strike Streeting Tweeted, “Support @ucu members in Ilford North and beyond who are on strike today over #USS changes—avoidable if employers engaged properly with staff.

When brother Wesley was NUS president—and Labour was in government—he opined, “Students need industrial action by university staff like a hole in the head.”

It’s nice to see the left-ish turn of the Labour Party has affected even Streeting


Duncan Smith shills for landlords

Iain Duncan Smith is supplementing his MPs’ salary again with money from the landlords industry.

In a new entry in the register of MPs’ interests, IDS says he received £4,000 to speak at the National Landlord Investment show last November.

He says this took only four hours, so he was earning £1,000 an hour.

IDS also trousered £3,500 in November for “magazine articles” for the National Landlord Investment Association, and another £4,000 for speaking at its June 2017 show. Then there was £5,020 for speaking to the “Negotiator” conference at London’s Park Lane Hilton in November—“the UK’s premier event for estate and letting agents”.

IDS argued for reducing taxes on private landlords, claiming it was time to “stop punishing” them.


The Things They Say

‘Dear right wing people please stop the red scares. Please give the Cold War Lingo a rest.’

Contrarian for money Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator on 20 February

‘The Corbynistas bared their teeth. They gave us an insight into the mob-like authoritarianism that lurks behind the facade of their politics’

Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator on 23 February

‘Inefficiency is the norm’

Management consultants make NHS hospitals less efficient, according to Andrew Sturdy, professor of management at Bristol University

‘It was like watching live television’

One minister on the Tory cabinet Brexit away day

‘There was a magic’

Another minister on the Tory cabinet Brexit away day

‘The plan is doomed’

Another minister on what the Tories came up with


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 27 Feb 2018, 16:40 GMT
Issue No. 2593
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.