Boris Johnson has been accused of breaking his promise on minimum wage increases just a week after the general election took place.
The Conservatives pledged to hike the minimum wage to £10.50 an hour within five years in its manifesto, but today’s Queen’s Speech includes a cheeky get-out clause.
The increase will now only happen “provided economic conditions allow”.
And with a turbulent break up from the EU on the way, that may prove difficult.
According to independent trade experts Johnson’s Brexit plan will reduce the UK economy by almost 2 per cent.
And even if mitigating trade deals with the US, Australia and New Zealand were somehow agreed at the same time as writing a Brussels deal, the Conservative Party leader’s withdrawal plans would still see UK output decline significantly.
The news will come as a bitter blow for workers who are suffering on wages that are still comparatively below 2007 levels.
Especially the blue collar workers who reportedly backed the Conservatives in their droves during the election.
Chancellor Sajid Javid unveiled in October Tory plans to raise the current National Living Wage rate of £8.21 an hour to £10.50 an hour within five years.
The party said the policy would benefit 4m low paid workers across the country, with some parts of the north set to pocket big increases during the parliament’s five-year term.
“It’s clear it’s the Conservatives who are the real party of labour. We are the workers party,” he told the conference in Manchester in October.
But guidance in Johnson’s Queen’s Speech, which sets out the party’s programme for government, leaves a get-out clause which would allow them to perform a U-turn.
The guidance reads: “The chancellor has pledged that the National Living Wage will increase, reaching two-thirds of median earnings within five years (projected to be around £10.50-an-hour in 2024), provided economic conditions allow).”