The scandal of subsidising miserly employers

The taxpayer is paying benefits to more than 4.2million households in Britain where one or more parties are working, according to parliamentary answers to questions from Bradford West MP George Galloway. "And it's a scandal that we are effectively subsidising miserly employers to the tune of more than £5billion a year, companies who are paying the minimum wage insufficient to bring their employees above the poverty line. We are all paying so that the workers in these exploitative companies can keep a roof over their heads and their children a calorie or two above malnutrition," the MP said.

Galloway continued: "We need to scrap the minimum wage and ensure legally that all employers pay the living wage. That will take away most of the taxpayers' subsidy to these companies, which is the way it should be. No doubt we'll hear the employers' representative whinge that they can't afford it. Poppycock. We abolished slavery a long time ago and the minimum wage is just a legalised, dressed-up version of it."

The MP added:"Of course these are national figures and we know that in poor areas, like Bradford, the concentration will be much higher than one-in-six homes (there are 26 million households in the UK). You have high unemployment - almost 13% in Bradford West - and if you've got a job the likelihood is that you'll be claiming one means-tested benefit or another. And of course it will get worse as the welfare cuts continue to bite. George Osborne claims the economy is on the mend. Well tell that to the men, women and children in more than four million homes who can't earn enough in proper jobs to make ends meet."