Labour will increase minimum wage to £8

Labour will increase the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to £8 an hour by 2020.

The introduction of the NMW in 1999 was one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour Government.

It ended the exploitation of millions of Britain’s workers and increased productivity without job losses. But the challenge we faced 15 years ago is different to the one we face today and the one we will face in the coming years.

One in five British workers find themselves struggling on low pay, often relying on benefits or tax credits to top up their wage so they can simply afford the essentials, even though they often work long, hard hours.

This can’t be right. If you work hard you should be able to bring up your family with dignity without relying on the taxpayer to make up the difference.

Under David Cameron people are not getting the rewards because the Government’s recovery is only benefiting a privileged few. I know people in Rotherham and Barnsley aren’t yet feeling the economic recovery.

So the next Labour Government, working with businesses and the Low Pay Commission, will raise the NMW to £8 by the end of the next Parliament, a move that will put an extra £3,000 a year in the pockets of Britain’s lowest paid workers.

This is an important move that will end the scandal of five million Brits struggling to make ends meet because they are on low pay. But we understand businesses need time to adjust their models to support higher wages. That’s why we’ll raise the NMW over five years so businesses will have enough time to plan.

Labour’s plan for Britain’s future will ensure we become a country that rewards hard work again. That begins by guaranteeing that everyone in Britain should be able to live on the wage they earn.

Would you sign the petition to back Labour’s plans for higher wages for Britain’s lowest paid workers? Click here.

• Ed Miliband said in his Labour Party conference speech that he has a plan to change the way Britain is run so that it rewards the work people do and saves the NHS they rely on.

He said it is time to care for our NHS, and time to make sure those that work in it have time to care.

Under the Tories, our NHS is going backwards with people struggling to see their GP and waiting lists rising. One in four patients are waiting a week or more for a GP appointment. Waiting lists for treatment are at their highest level for six years. Our elderly people are stuck with 15 minute visits, not the care they need. And more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed.

Labour will raise £2.5bn for an NHS Time to Care Fund, not from everyday working people but by ensuring that hedge funds and other tax avoiders play by the rules, and asking those at the top to pay more. We will do this by raising tax on high-value properties worth more than £2 million, clamping down on tax avoidance schemes used by hedge funds and introducing fees on tobacco companies, based on those in the US.

This money will be used to save and transform our NHS, with enough doctors and nurse with the time care for patients and transforming services so the NHS can meet future health challenges.

• 20,000 more nurses, getting the basics right with safe staffing.

• 8,000 more GPs, to help people stay healthy outside hospital.

• 5,000 new homecare workers and 3,000 more midwives.