Tories warn Cameron of 'disaster' if he opposes living wage

Robert Halfon: Cameron "mustn't make mistake the Conservatives made in opposing the minimum wage"
Robert Halfon: Cameron "mustn't make mistake the Conservatives made in opposing the minimum wage"
Adam Bienkov By

David Cameron's opposition to the living wage risks "disaster" for the Conservative's electoral prospects, a group of Tory MPs has warned.

The Conservative leadership this week dismissed plans by Labour to encourage employers to pay the living wage as "unworkable" and "unaffordable".

However, the 'Tories for the living wage' group will meet this week to discuss plans to encourage Cameron to do more to tackle poverty pay.

The group, led by Hexham MP Guy Opperman, believes the party's opposition to the minimum wage was deeply damaging and want Cameron to avoid making the same error with the living wage.

"We mustn't make the same mistake the Conservatives made ten years ago in opposing the minimum wage," Robert Halfon MP said.

"We mustn’t get ourselves in the position of again being against this. That would be a disaster for the party."

Fellow Tory MP Mark Pritchard added that warnings of mass job losses from the minimum wage had "proved wrong" and that the issue of low pay had an "appeal" with the public.

The warnings come as Ed Miliband delivered a speech calling for all businesses that pay the living wage to be given tax rebates.

The Labour leader today claimed Cameron had "nothing to say" on living standards as he was "wedded to Britain competing in a race to the bottom".

He added: "It is not good for our country for people to be working 60 or 70 hours a week, doing 2 or 3 jobs, not having time to see their kids. We will change it."

Miliband said he was also looking at plans to force certain sectors of the economy to pay their employers more than the minimum wage.

The Labour leaders plans came under attack from his party yesterday, after Labour figures in London warned his proposals would "not significantly" raise the number of people receiving the living wage.

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