The Guardian view on the productivity puzzle: blame low pay | Editorial

Photo of The Guardian view on the productivity puzzle: blame low pay | Editorial

The head scratching over the failure to raise productivity is ignoring the real problem: cheap labour is a disincentive to investment

Theresa May originally wanted her purpose in power to be defined by improving the wellbeing of the less well-off. Despite all that has happened since, she has not, apparently, given up: with the gender pay gap in mind, at the weekend she pressed even those smaller firms not legally required to publish the difference between their male and female employees’ earnings to survey their workforce. This is typical of her style: imprecation rather than action. Within weeks of that Downing Street pledge, she was backtracking on some of the measures, such as workers and consumers on boards, that she had proposed as a way of showing she would be the voice of the just-getting-by.

Yet there is no doubt she got one thing right: she identified the issue that is likely to do most damage to her government, whatever the upshot of the Brexit negotiations. A decade after the crash, many voters are still not better off; the roll-out of universal credit is going to leave some even poorer. And many of those who have had real income growth don’t feel the difference.

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#living wage
#universal credit
#budget 2017 november