This Week’s Charts…

Harriet Harman has today WARNED us that if we become independent (not “GO independent”, as her party colleague and former English teacher, Johann Lamont, said yesterday during FMQs!), our minimum wage will be at risk of being cut, despite the Scottish Government’s pledge to at least increase it in line with inflation (’Scotland’s Future’). Harman claims that this is what happens when a smaller country competes with one with a larger economy:

“The danger is that, as with corporation tax, if you start competing against a larger economy, you reduce the cost of wages.
“There is a question mark over whether there would be a race to the bottom. Of course there would be.”

Leaving aside the fact that Scottish companies already compete with others in the rest of the UK, as well as the rest of the world, I decided to have a snoop around to find out what national minimum wages are like around the world.

The UK, with its current minimum wage of £6.31 per hour (…or £5.03 per hour if you’re aged 18–20 …or £3.72 per hour if you’re under 18 and finished compulsory education), comes in at reasonable sounding No.10 in the National Minimum Wage charts. So obviously all of the other countries above the UK in this chart are larger, with bigger economies? That would only be logical, given Harman’s wise words, wouldn’t it?

So let’s have a look at the NMW Top 10 (some music to listen to in the background as we count them down)

Staying at number 10, the UK, with a minimum wage of £6.31 an hour, or (US)$10.02…
A new entry at 9, the Netherlands, with $10.99…
Over two years at number 8, it’s Ireland, with $11.09…
New Zealand clinging on at number 7, with ‘We’ll Ensure You Don’t Work For Less Than $11.18 (Kiwi Mix)’…
(hope you’re listening to the backing track!)
Number 6 is Teeny Wee San Marino, earning a minimum of $11.49…

And now it’s time for the world’s NMW Top 5…

Belgium keeping the 5th spot, with $11.69…
In at 4, it’s the biggest country above the UK, it’s France, with $12.22…
Monaco sneaking in at number 3, with $!2.83…
At number 2, it’s the 170th biggest nation on Earth: Luxembourg! $14.24…
Which means that for the 500th week running, it’s Australia’s Men (and Women) At Work, with their smash hit, ‘We Come from a Land Down Under – Where the Minimum Wage is $16.88’!

Roll end credits. (you can stop the music now if you want)

So there we have it. Harman’s insistence that an independent Scotland will be unique in its inability to compete effectively in the world, unlike the countries listed above, which all have bigger national minimum wages than even the mighty UK, is frankly tosh. Only one of them (France) is of comparable size to the UK, both in terms of population and economy. The rest are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller, and some of the smallest nations on the face of the planet.

So, here’s a wee suggestion for Harman’s little speech/interview.

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One thought on “This Week’s Charts…

  1. Harriet Harman isn’t very intelligent.
    Even I at sixty six, almost, and a tenuous grip on reality, would give her a run for her money.
    The poor dear is a lawyer after all.

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