Kieran McCarthy stated: “Northern Ireland should never lower the minimum wage as it would be a massive blow to people on low incomes.
“We fought long and hard to have a minimum wage introduced and we will not buckle at the word of David Varney.
“Lowering the minimum wage would hit the most vulnerable people in our society and would create far more problems that it solves.”
“It would be crazy for Northern Ireland to try to compete on the basis of low labour costs. Also, the areas of the economy where low wages are paid actually make comparatively little impact on GDP growth.
“With globalisation, the only way Northern Ireland can be competitive in the face of the challenge from emerging economies such as India and China is to have a highly-skilled workforce delivering high-value goods and services.
“Northern Ireland needs to develop our economy, increasing the private sector relative to the public sector, and making our public finances more stable. We need to attract a considerable amount of inward investment over the next few years and we must also encourage local entrepreneurship.
“Lowering the minimum wage would be a massive backward step and this proposal illustrates the lack of imagination within the Varney reports.”