The Fermanagh MLA and vice chair of the Assembly’s ETI Committee said:
“Earlier this week I called on the minister to back a living wage for businesses supported by Invest NI.
“The minister’s claim that support for a living wage would result in job losses is a tired rerun of claims made by big business when the minimum wage was introduced.
“Despite all the scaremongering then the roof didn’t fall in.
“And with respect it is the responsibility of public representatives, not business, to set benchmarks for an acceptable standard of living.
“Money paid to workers would do more to lift the local economy than dividends paid to shareholders. Workers support indigenous business by spending their wages in the local economy.
“By getting behind a living wage for workers the minister could do more to prevent the emergence of the two-tier economy a recent PwC report predicted would leave behind those on benefits and low pay.”