New Low Pay Commission should consider impact of minimum wage changes on competitiveness
Speaking at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Conference last Friday, Brian Hayes MEP said that Britain and Ireland could lead the way in Europe with the formation of a British-Irish Competitiveness Council.
“The creation of a British-Irish Competitiveness Council would put us ahead of the curve in the European Union. At the moment, the EU has very little in the way of competiveness coordination. A British-Irish Competitiveness Council could be a mechanism which prevents major divergences of competitiveness, with a particular focus on wage-setting policies and taxation.
“I believe that the new Low Pay Commission should seriously consider the impact of minimum wage changes on competitiveness with other EU countries.
“Because competitive policies such as wage formation are so deeply rooted in national decision making, a coordinated system between Britain and Ireland would be able to detect problems with competitiveness early on and ensure that they do not become significant. We must remember that any change in Irish or British national wages will have a significant knock-on effect on the other country.
“A British-Irish Competitiveness Council would ideally consist of national competitiveness authorities, such as the Irish National Competitiveness Council (NCC) which reports to and advises the Taoiseach on competitiveness issues facing the economy.
“A major competitiveness focus would be on energy and how our energy policies can be linked more efficiently. The East-West Interconnector demonstrates a mutually beneficial energy operation for both countries.
“Strong competition between Ireland and Britain is healthy for both economies, especially considering the recent proposal to devolve corporation tax setting to Northern Ireland.”