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Minimum wage increases can hurt exactly the people they are designed to help

The government—and the opposition—should think carefully before promising them

By Jonathan Cribb  

© Xinhua/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Given all the disagreement between political parties on taxes, spending, benefits and pensions, the minimum wage is one of the unlikely places in which there is some agreement between the Conservatives and Labour. For the first time, both parties’ manifestos are promising increases in the minimum wage that exceed growth in average earnings.

The Conservative plan is the implementation of George Osborne’s “National Living Wage” policy (just a rebranded name for a higher…

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