Nigel Farage has said he opposes an increase in the minimum wage because it could encourage immigrants to come to the UK.
The ukip leader made his comments on Friday (17th April 2015) 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.”
He added that the answer was to have a labour market where employers have to pay people more.
ukip has said it will support the minimum wage and take those on it out of tax altogether, but Farage’s remarks about keeping it at the current level may not go down well among the low-paid voters it is trying to woo in its target seats.
The Scottish National party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, attacked Farage during the BBC leader debates for blaming a series of problems on immigration. During the clash, the ukip leader said immigration had caused the housing shortage and put pressure on the NHS.
He has previously attributed overcrowding on the roads to immigration after he was late to an event because of traffic.