General Election 2015Ed Miliband has pledged to raise the national minimum wage to £8 an hour by the next election as part of the Labour party’s manifesto, which he launched this week in Manchester.

The promise comes as part of Labour’s campaign for what he calls a more equal society that doesn’t favour the rich. Miliband has also placed great emphasis on his additional promise not to increase the country’s debt through borrowing, declaring his party as the more financially responsible choice of government.

Following the publication of the manifesto, John Cridland, CBI director-general, said:

“Keeping the UK economy on track over the coming years will be critical for whichever party is successful at the general election.

“As healthy public finances are a prerequisite for a successful economy, the Labour Party’s focus on fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction are welcome – and business will want to see clear timescales for achieving this.

“Labour’s manifesto includes a number of proposals that are positive for business, including remaining within a reformed EU, establishing an independent infrastructure commission, and focussing on skills. But market interventions in labour and other specific sectors, together with signals on corporation tax, are a cause for concern.

“When it comes to setting the National Minimum Wage the independent Low Pay Commission, not politicians, should be in the lead to ensure any increases are affordable.”

Miliband also announced his intentions for challenging the growth of unpaid internships and cutting university tuition fees from £9,000 a year to £6,000 a year.

Denise Keating commented: enei chief executive said:

“We are pleased to see that the Party has committed to tackling the growth of unpaid internships, a problem identified by enei and our Members in our own Manifesto for equality & inclusion.  The Labour Party’s plans for independent careers advice in schools also interest us, and we would be looking for details on how this scheme will engage with employers.

“However, we are concerned about the Labour Party’s proposal to remove funding for apprenticeships and training for older workers. Dr Ros Altmann’s report, ‘A New Vision for Older Workers’, highlighted an over-emphasis on younger unemployed people, and detailed that a lack of skills, particularly among older women, is one of the biggest barriers to employment for older people.”

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Steff joined the HRreview editorial team in November 2014. A former event coordinator and manager, Steff has spent several years working in online journalism. She is a graduate of Middlessex University with a BA in Television Production and will complete a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Westminster in the summer of 2015.