Editorials

Keeping healthy on a minimum wage

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7521.857 (Published 13 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:857
  1. Christopher Deeming ([email protected]), PhD student
  1. School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TZ

    Is not easy in the United Kingdom

    The national minimum wage was a flagship policy of the United Kingdom's Labour party during the 1997 election campaign—a century after Fabians Sidney and Beatrice Webb first advanced the idea.1 From April 1999 the policy set a main minimum wage of £3.60 per hour for those aged 22 and older and a lower rate of £3.00 for those aged 18-21. Reviewed annually, the main rate now stands at £5.05 and the youth rate at £4.25 per hour. People aged 25 or over and working at least 30 hours a week can also receive working tax credits after means testing. Has the policy reduced poverty and, in turn, improved public health?

    The minimum wage and working tax credits are important policies in the government's anti-poverty strategy. Yet the latest estimate shows that wages in 250 000 jobs held by people …

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