Put simply, both parties claim that they would take people on the highest weekly rate of the National Minimum Wage out of paying Income Tax, but not National Insurance and/or Value Added Tax. Well they are lying with regards to Income Tax too.
The Tories say you will not have to pay Income Tax if you are working 30 hours or less a week. ukip says you will not have to pay Income Tax if you are working 40 hours or less per week. The average working week is one of 43.6 hours and over 4 million people work more than 48 hours per week. I leave you to work out which end of the pay scale is most likely to be working those hours.
ukip has never been more than lukewarm about the NMW and Farage has now come out against it. He has said he opposes an increase in the minimum wage because it could encourage immigrants to come to the UK. Farage made his comments on Friday 17th April during a phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live, when a caller asked whether he would raise the rate.
He replied, “There is a problem with doing that. That is that if you increase the minimum wage, you may actually even attract more migrant labour. Don’t forget, the minimum wage in Britain is now nine times what it is in Romania. If you increase it even more people would want to come. I want to see the market adjust this. The current proposal to increase the minimum wage, which is the Labour proposal, to put it up by 2019 to about £8 an hour, I don’t think an marginal increase is really going to make a difference. I think the minimum wage was designed to be a floor and it has actually become a ceiling. Unless we restrict the flow of migrant labour … I think if we do increase the minimum wage, we will effectively just set a new glass ceiling.”
Many people on the NMW at or below the highest rate already do not earn enough now to pay Income Tax, but they have no option but to pay VAT. VAT bears down hardest on those on low incomes, whether they are in or out of work. It bears down on those on fixed incomes like pensioners and those on Social Security. It bears down on those with little or no opportunity to improve their earnings. ukip made a bit of a joke, at the launch of their policies for women, about cutting VAT on sanitary towels, a product that only 49% of the electorate may regard as non essential.
Two right wing parties in this General Election are posing as the friend of the working class. Working man, in ukip’s case, as women need not apply. And ukip thinks women mistake its candour for misogyny. When it comes to the NMW and Income Tax both parties are lying.