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I would like to suggest four ways to support growth while protecting the lowest paid workers in our society — those who do the jobs most of us would prefer not to do. These are jobs paying €8.65 per hour and leaving just €49.43 to live on each day.
1. Increase the national minimum wage for all workers — public sector and private. As the gap widens between the minimum wage and social welfare rates it becomes more attractive to find work. The average CEO (in the US) was paid more than 700 times that of a worker on the minimum wage in 2013. We have failed as a society if this sort of inequality continues to be condoned and exacerbated by shareholders.
2. Adopt a progressive approach to corporation tax by using bands (as with income tax). For example the first €100,000 of profit at 8%, the next €500,000 at 12.5% and profits above €600,000 at 15%.
3. Reduce VAT rates — particularly the highest at 23%. VAT is a charge for goods and services that is fully borne by consumers at the end point. It tends to be invisible as it is not usually included in pricing displays. A washing machine for €649 is rarely advertised as €527.64 for the shop (oh, and €121.36 for the government).
4. Enact laws of a four-month maximum for zero-hours contracts. The extensive use of these contracts on an ongoing basis makes for an insecure workforce at the ground level. It is shameful and diminishes us all.
Crosthwaite Park East
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