Low-paid workers across Lincolnshire - and the rest of the country - have already seen huge benefits from the first ever minimum wage brought in by the Blair Government which have increased pay for many workers from £1 an hour under the Tories to £5.35 today.
Far from Tory scare-mongering that a minimum wage would destroy a million jobs, the reality is more people are in work in our country than ever before: today the economy is strong and stable after years of Tory boom and bust.
It's hard to believe that under Thatcher who believed that mass unemployment was a price worth paying, four million British citizens were consigned to the scrap-heap - including a generation of our youth who had no hope of ever getting meaningful work.
Today, youth unemployment is virtually eradicated. And since 1997, holiday entitlements, wages, tax credits, and rights to maternity and paternity leave for all, have also been vastly improved.
In the next step towards building a decent society, Employment Minister Jim Fitzpatrick revealed today that six million workers will receive an extra eight days holiday every year.
Currently, some employers include the eight annual bank holidays as part of their workers' 20-day leave entitlement.
The move would protect vulnerable workers and allow reputable companies to compete on a more level playing field with those companies that give employees only the minimum of holiday entitlement.
The DTI today launches a second public consultation implementing the changes. The plans is to increased statutory annual leave entitlement from the current 20 to 24 days on 1st October 2007, and to 28 days on 1st October 2008.
Jim Fitzpatrick said:
Most companies already recognise that good holiday provision makes good business sense. Holiday entitlement can be a key factor in recruiting and retaining staff. Holidays are also important for productivity as they help minimise sick leave and keep people motivated and refreshed.The move means the Government is honouring its' manifesto commitment to ensure that unscrupulous employers will no longer be able to count public holidays as part of an employees four weeks paid holiday leave.
We've worked closely with business and have wanted to make sure that they have time to prepare for the changes. People work hard and they deserve a decent break. We want to make sure everyone gets the holiday they are entitled to.
By the end of 2008 nearly seven million British employees will have an extra eight days holiday a year.
Labour's General Election manifesto 2005 said:
We have introduced, for the first time, an entitlement for every employee to four weeks' paid holiday, and we propose to extend this by making it additional to bank holiday entitlement.See further information and consultation HERE.
I don't suppose you'll read the good news in the Daily Mail!