Own goal for Labour on `low-pay' companies

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Indy Politics
A Labour attack on the Government for promoting low pay ran into trouble yesterday, when it emerged that one of the companies accused of freezing wages for its lowest-paid staff supports the Labour Party, writes John Rentoul.

Harriet Harman MP, Labour's employment spokeswoman, published a report claiming that a number of companies paying below old Wages Council rates were financial supporters of the Tories. But one example, Comet shops, is owned by Kingfisher plc, which has supported the Labour Party over the past year to the tune of £17,000 through sponsoring conferences and lending equipment.

Ms Harman challenged the Tories to repay donations so the companies highlighted "can pay their employees a decent wage". When asked if the Labour Party would repay any benefits it had received from Kingfisher, a spokeswoman said: "No. It is a purely commercial arrangement. Kingfisher has taken stalls at our conference and sponsored some events. They are paying for services.

"Sponsoring an event is not a donation because they get something out of it - they get publicity."