Labour MPs record Christmas single in protest at National Living Wage

MP Siobhain McDonagh says many employers have cut overtime pay, free lunches, and bonuses, since being told they must pay staff over 25 at least £7.20 an hour

Charlotte England
Thursday 15 December 2016 15:08
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Labour MPs record Christmas single in protest at National Living Wage

Labour MPs have released a Christmas song to highlight how big businesses have cut workers’ perks since the National Living Wage was introduced.

The song, to the tune of the 1980s Band Aid hit Do They Know It’s Christmas, was recorded by MPs including Dan Jarvis, Angela Rayner, and Mary Creagh.

Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh, who directed the group, said she wanted a “catchy” way to highlight how some employers have ditched staff perks, including overtime pay, Christmas bonuses, and free lunches, in order to comply with the National Living Wage without spending more.

Since April, the law has required employers to pay staff over the age of 25 at least £7.20 an hour, but MPs say some companies are complying essentially in name only, while cutting back elsewhere to compensate.

The protest anthem, titled The National Living Rage, replaces the words “Feed the World” with the words “Keep the perks, don’t be Scrooge this Christmas time”.

It names offenders Waitrose, B&Q, Tesco, Caffe Nero, and EAT, among others.

Writing in the Grimsby Telegraph, another MP who took part, Melanie Onn, said it was a “highly embarrassing way of raising an important issue".

The song is a trademark of the Band Aid Trust, which will put all profits from the single towards its charity work.

Several other political songs have also been released in time for Christmas, with the chancellor Philip Hammond agreeing to waive VAT on sales of a Christmas single in memory of late Labour MP Jo Cox.

The special recording of the Rolling Stones’ hit You Can’t Always Get What You Want features cross-party MPs and musicians including Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, Cockney Rebel’s Steve Harley, KT Tunstall and David Gray.

Money raised from the single will go to the Jo Cox Foundation which supports a range of charities, including the Royal Voluntary Service and the White Helmets.

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