‘Tsunami of poverty’ could hit Jersey households this year


LEGISLATION to bring Jersey’s minimum wage in line with the living wage will be introduced in the US by the end of next year – but a charity has warned a ‘tsunami of poverty’ could hit the islanders this winter.

The States Assembly yesterday unanimously approved MP Sam Mézec’s proposal, which was a pledge of Jersey’s reformist manifesto during the election campaign.

MP Mézec had initially called for the necessary legislative changes to be made before the end of this year, but accepted an amendment from Social Security Minister Elaine Millar that this work would take another 12 months to complete.

The living wage is currently calculated by the charity Caritas and is adjusted annually after examining prevailing economic conditions and determining what a person would need to earn full time to be able to maintain a basic standard of living without having to to claim social benefits. Security. It is currently set at £11.27 per hour.

Yesterday it was confirmed that the minimum wage will rise to £10.50 an hour from the start of November before the living wage comes into force.

Deputy Millar said this will replace the previously announced double increase – to £10 an hour from October 1, followed by a further increase in January.

But following the states’ vote, Caritas chief executive Patrick Lynch raised concerns, saying: “We understand the view that two moves in three months could have a negative impact on business. ” A move makes sense, but that’s no excuse to cut the move from £10.80 to £10.50.

He said he was “afraid of a tsunami of poverty coming in January”.

Outlining his proposal to the United States, MP Mézec said: “I ask you to approve a deadline for when we talk about the legislation for when it becomes a reality.”

“It’s not something we can do overnight, but we have to have a path to it. I had originally suggested that this work could be done by December of this year. I was, I accept, ambitious in this timeline.

“I am happy to say that this deadline could be set for December next year instead, and it is okay to do so as there is a significant increase in the minimum wage in the meantime.”

Discussing the living wage in the Assembly, MP Millar said: ‘The technically difficult aspect is how we calculate it. What we would like to see is an approach that works for Jersey, based on evidence and Jersey statistics.

“I can confirm that I am as determined as MP Mézec is that this work must not drift away and that we present legislation by 2023.”

MP Lyndon Farnham said he supported the proposal but added that some sectors would need support to deal with the change.

“An important part of the process as we transition to living wages is that some businesses will need help to bridge the short-term gap and deal with significantly increased costs on their payroll,” he said.

Mr Lynch added: “For people on minimum wage, 30p less in their pockets is a significant amount, especially given the current cost of living situation, the coming winter and the first quarter of the year. next year when the heating bills are higher and we’ve just come out of Christmas.

“In reparation, we would like the government to support [mini-budget] amendment extending the 2% reduction in social security. It won’t make up for it, but it will help.

“If they fell £10.80 in January, when will we see the next increase after November? At the latest, we would ask for it in the second quarter of next year, because by then we will have a new living wage for 2023.”

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