Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference this week, Cameron said the time was right to boost workers’ wages. “Now that our long-term economic plan is truly working, together we’ve got to make sure it works for everyone in our country,” he said.
“Economic success can’t just be shown in the GDP [gross domestic product] figures or on the balance sheets of British businesses, but in people’s pay packets and bank accounts and lifestyles.”
‘In people’s pay packets’
But the CBI said any increase in wages should be linked to increasing productivity. CBI deputy director general Katja Hall said: “As the recovery continues we expect wages to pick up, but this will need to go hand in hand with rising productivity.
“Basing wage increases on temporary market movements seems to be at odds with the long term economic plan.”
While falling oil prices were positive for the UK economy, benefitting businesses and households, the North Sea oil industry contributes significant tax revenues and employs hundreds of thousands of people, said Hall. It … is being hit hard. As an immediate step the government should announce a commitment to reduce the supplementary charge”.
Meanwhile, BCC boss John Longworth told the same conference that the next government should hold an in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership as soon as possible. “Uncertainty is always bad for business. If we are going to have a referendum [on the UK’s EU membership], we should have one soon.”