25 Critical Soc. Pol'y 5 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy25 and id is 1 raw text is: 

    Lancaster University

    Living  wages and the 'making work pay' strategy

    Poverty among workers is a perennial problem. Recently there has been
    much  interest in the idea of living wages. As mechanisms to increase
    wages above the 'poverty line', living wages present an alternative to
    New  Labour's 'making work pay' strategy; a combination of minimum
    wage regulation and means-tested, in-work relief. Through a compari-
    son of living wages and the 'making  work pay' strategy this paper
    critically examines both by focusing upon the aims of the two strategies,
    their ability to deliver higher incomes to workers and their families, and
    the assumptions upon which  the two strategies are based. The paper
    demonstrates that while  the 'making  work  pay' strategy is more
    sensitive to need than living wages, outside of wider changes in the
    social relations of capital and gender, the two strategies are similar in
    buttressing capitalism and institutionalizing stereotypes of women as
    dependants and carers.

    Key  words: capitalism, gender, poverty, relief, work


Poverty  among   workers  is a perennial  problem.  Macnicol  (1980)
demonstrates,  how  in the past, the tackling of in-work poverty  has
been  framed through  a dichotomy   between  minimum wage legisla-
tion on the one hand  and  in-work relief on the other. The origins of
this dichotomy  can  be located in debates  in the late 18th  century
when  minimum wage regulation and in-work relief as   mechanisms   of
relieving in-work need were discussed at both a local and central level.
The  preference at both  levels was for in-work relief because of the
potential of minimum   wages to interfere with market wage levels (see
Poynter, 1969). Two  centuries later New Labour's 'making  work  pay'

Copyright @ 2005 Critical Social Policy Ltd 0261-0183 82 Vol. 25(1): 5-27; 048965
SAGE PUBLICATIONS (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), 10.1177/0261018305048965


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