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Minister: Strong argument for raising the minimum wage as economy recovers

Ged Nash has been explaining what the Low Pay Commission is all about.

Updated 3.35pm

Source: Video

What is the Low Pay Commission? Ged Nash explains in the above clip. Video: Nicky Ryan/ 

SMALL BUSINESS MINISTER Ged Nash has said there will be a strong argument for increasing the national minimum wage as the economic recovery continues.

Nash said he expects to have the first report of the Low Pay Commission, which will recommend an appropriate level of pay, early next year.

But he told that as the economic recovery takes hold there will be a “strong argument” for increasing the current minimum wage of €8.65.

His position contrasts with that of the senior minister in the Department of Jobs, Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton, who has repeatedly said now is not the time for wage increases.

But Nash, a super junior minister who sits at cabinet, said that the commission will take the politics out of setting the minimum wage and offer an “evidence-based” approach.

“In the context of where we’re at at the moment, I think there will be a strong argument for increasing the national minimum wage for a range of different reasons,” Nash told in an interview this week.

However he cautioned that it was still too early to say whether the minimum wage should be increased and said he would await the recommendations of the commission which should report twice between now and the next general election in 2016.

Asked if this meant there could be an increase in the minimum wage before the next election, Nash said: “Potentially that would be the case, but let’s see what the commission has to say.”

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Asked about Nash’s comments at an event in Dublin today, the Tánaiste Joan Burton said having “fairly, solid, sustainable earnings” is one of the ways to grow the European economy, but noted that the current rate is relatively high.

She said: “The minimum wage in Ireland as it stands at the moment, at €8.65, is actually quite good. In fact it’s slightly higher than the minimum wage that Germany will introduce next year.”

First published 1pm 

Richard Bruton: Now is not the time for wage increases

Joan Burton: ‘We should not fear increases in the minimum wage.’

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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