PracticeConsultingPortillo begins new job by pledging to keep in place Labour reforms

Portillo begins new job by pledging to keep in place Labour reforms

Michael Portillo, the new shadow chancellor, has made an early mark on the party by announcing two policy reversals - to maintain the independence of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee and keep the National Minimum Wage in place.

He said: ‘Our aim will be to reassure markets that monetary decisions will not be taken for political reasons; and also to establish more clearly the independence of the Committee’s members.

‘Their appointments will be for longer. The committee will be made more accountable to Parliament. Committee appointments will be confirmed by Parliament. A Parliamentary Committee will have oversight of the MPC’s work.’Displaying a softer line on social policy he said the minimum wage was a ‘well-targeted device for the relief of poverty’.

However, worries remain that firms are paying too much to comply with minimum wage regulations.

‘We remain concerned at the compliance cost for business, and we will seek to improve its administration. We will keep a watch on future levels of the national minimum wage in case they do begin to impact on employment opportunities,’ he said.

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