The government are clearly aware that our coffers are bereft and our wallets as light as two bits of pleather that have been stitched together and are desperate to feel what it's like to hold something. It was, after all, Westminster who played a sizeable part in so majestically fucking Britain's countrymen and women out of employment, so you'd have thought it would at least be on their radar.
The good news is that they're trying to make amends, by raising minimum wage a whole one percent, by 12 pence an hour. That's not quite a Freddo every hour, or almost a pound a day, which is going to be crucial when it comes to covering the astronomical costs of sustaining any semblance of a lifestyle these days. But does just under £5 a week cut it? Do our nation's minimum wage workers not deserve more than the equivalent of a cheap haircut once a week? London, is the 12 pence minimum wage increase even worth it?
Helen, creative industry: It's probably not worth it, no. I don’t really know too much about how it's going to affect people, but I just keep hearing that the people who it's going to hit hardest are benefit claimants.
VICE: Right. Have you ever worked in a job were you felt like you deserved better pay?
Well, yeah, always! I work in the creative industry and people don’t get paid that much, so its all about putting in the extras. It's like overtime with no pay – working on the weekends just to get jobs done.
Alex, designer: Probably not a huge difference, no.
Do you think it's a bit of a slap in the face?
Yeah, definitely. I mean, 12 pence isn’t going to start changing and improving people’s lifestyles, is it?
Have you ever worked in a job that you think you should have gotten paid more for it?
Definitely – a waiter. I think I should have got more than what I was getting. It gets a bit frustrating after a while, working long hours then getting your pay packet and its not that much.
Were you frustrated at the government or the place you worked for?
Ah, probably both.
Cara, writer and studio manager: I mean, it’s a good thing, but it might be a bit better if it was just a bit more of an increase.
How much do you think minimum wage should be per hour?
I think it depends where in the country you are. In London, if it's only £6.30, it should be £8.50. I mean, it's always been more expensive here, but it's massively expensive living in London at the moment.
So you think minimum wage should depend on where you live?
Yeah, absolutely. But I also think there should be more means to allow access to housing – making it more affordable, so perhaps trying to tackle this issue from a few different angles.
Do you think it's going to end up being impossible for this generation to buy homes?
Yeah, I do, unless there are radical changes in bills and policy, like something to cap people buying property who come from overseas. I'm not a racist, but a lot of foreign people are buying property, which is pushing up prices.
Don't worry, I wouldn't have thought you were racist.
Mauro, "from Milan": Well, I’m Italian and only here for a few days, so I'm not sure how it will affect the country. But I know it's much worse in Italy than it is here. I'm lucky because I'm an independent professional, but minimum wage is very, very low in Italy.
Do you think there should be a maximum cap on how much people can earn?
Yeah, definitely. People can earn ridiculous amounts.
Have you ever worked somewhere that was paying you a very low wage?
Absolutely, when I was a trainee. It was a very frustrating 3 years but it was I don’t know mandatory to get to where I am today, so it was very frustrating but I learnt and developed skills from it.
Do you think the minimum wage should be a lot more, how much do you think it should be?
Honestly, I don’t know. If I knew the answer then I would be prime minister in Italy!
Gavin, complaints worker: That's what it is? Twelve pence? It seems pretty small. I mean, minimum wage is already very low.
Do you think there should be a maximum wage then?
That seems a bit like communism, doesn’t it?
That it does. But don't you think it's unfair that actors get paid millions for "working" on a film, while other people are getting paid nothing for doing manual labour all day?
I mean, it seems screwy, if there's a market for it and people are willing to pay someone that much money, that’s fine. You can’t stop people from offering a lot of money to do something. It‘s a nice idea because it does seem unfair, but then at the same time you can’t tell people how much or how little to pay someone – it’s just part of the capitalist world we live in.
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