PM backs plans to calculate minimum wage and benefits

The Government has made a U-turn on past refusals to attempt to calculate minimum wage and benefit payments needed to prevent poverty-related ill-health.

At a meeting with 65 charities last week, Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed "in principle" to the need for research into minimum income standards.

The charities, including Barnado's, were supporting a campaign led by the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, a Christian charity that calls on the Government to fund such research.

The PM's concession represents a significant change in the Government's attitude towards the campaign. Last year, Malcolm Wicks, Minister for Work and Pensions, dismissed minimum income standards calculations as "social science fiction".

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