Britain`s Labour party promises higher minimum wage

 The leader of Britain`s opposition Labour party promised on Sunday to raise the national minimum wage to at least £8 (10 euros, $13) an hour if it wins the general election in May.

London: The leader of Britain`s opposition Labour party promised on Sunday to raise the national minimum wage to at least £8 (10 euros, $13) an hour if it wins the general election in May.

Ed Miliband made the pledge as he opened Labour`s final annual conference before the vote, indicating that living standards will be a key issue in the party`s campaign.

Labour has argued for months that ordinary people have not yet seen the benefits of the return of economic growth after the recession, amid spending cuts and stagnant wages.

The minimum wage for workers over the age of 21 is currently £6.31 and is due to go up to £6.50 next month, the first real-terms rise since the recession in 2008-2009.

Miliband wants it to rise to at least £8 by the end of the next parliamentary mandate in 2020, a long-term goal that he said would give businesses time to plan and adapt.

"One in five of the men and women employed in Britain today do the hours, make their contribution, but find themselves on low pay," he told the Sunday Mirror tabloid.

"But if you work hard, you should be able to bring up your family with dignity."

Although the measure would increase the wage bill for the public sector, Miliband told the BBC he expected it would save money by reducing the number of people eligible for income-related state welfare payments.

By comparison, the proposal is more than the 9.53-euro minimum wage in France and the 8.50-euro level that Germany is due to introduce in January.

But it is less than what was demanded by British trade union leaders, who called for a £10 rate at their annual conference this month.