“The brothers would fight it..”

Apparently based on a report in the Daily Telegraph, quoting an un-named Labour Party source, which suggests that Gordon Brown might be tempted to raise the minimum wage on a variable basis within the UK, the BBC NI report focuses on the comments of Employment Minister Reg Empey, since, as they report, “A government spokesperson would not comment on the issue.” The Minister, referring to the suggestion, said

“We have difficulty in getting people to leave benefit and go to work, this would make matters worse,” he said. “I think for that reason we have got to remember that the people who are receiving the minimum wage tend to be those people who are doing very basic jobs and I honestly don’t think penalising them will improve our economic prosperity.”

Leaving aside the interpretation in the headline.. Of course, the Employment Minister has his own reasons to create a story.. given the mis-handling of his last statement. And “the brothers” have already exerted their influence on the previous Secretary of State when, as noted at the time, he had predicted that the Agriculture Wages Board “will cease to exist”[pdf file].. but, following pressure by “the brothers”.. it is evident that the Board is a body that is still in operation..