SOURCE DAILY MAIL: Boris warns Cameron and Osborne against 'hacking back' tax credits until firms start paying their workers more
The London Mayor said it was 'scandalous' that private companies were paying their workers so poorly that the government needed to top up their wages with tax credits. He warned the Chancellor not to used next month's budget to begin 'hacking back' in-work benefits while pay was still so low. Mr Johnson's warning shot comes after the Prime Minister used a speech this week to attack the spiralling cost of tax credits – and accused giant firms of using the benefits system to hold down wages. A study by Citizens UK this year showed that there were 5.2million low paid workers in the UK, receiving £11billion in state support. It is argued that if their firms paid them the Living Wage instead of the minimum wage it would save the taxpayer £6.7billion in benefits. Five of the country's biggest retailers – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrison's and Next – reportedly receive £1billion-a-year in taxpayer-funded subsidies for their wages bill. Mr Johnson is backing the Living Wage campaign, where firms volunteer to pay staff more than just the legal minimum. He said: 'It is quite interesting how this movement is building. When I started as mayor there were about 23 companies and organisations who were paying the living wage, it's now up to about 617 – it's massively grown... It puts tens of millions of pounds into the pockets of people who need it. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing.'