Boris Johnson wants the Conservatives to make raising wages a key target for the next Parliament should they win the general election.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

The London Mayor wants to see a real push in tackling the increasing pay divide and has been a major supporter of the living wage since he was elected major back in 2008.

And Johnson believes that his party should be doing more to entice businesses to play the living wage instead of the minimum wage.

The minimum wage currently stands at £6.50 an hour and was increased by 19p back in October. However, it is over a pound an hour behind the living wage of £7.85 outside London - those on the living wage in the capital receive £9.15.

Currently businesses and employers are not required to pay the living wage. However, Johnson wants the living wage to become compulsory and wants the government to introduce incentives to businesses so they will pay the living wage. Offering lower business rates in return for paying the living wage was one idea that has been suggested.

A friend of Johnson told the Daily Mail that the major wants to see this pledge at the heart of the Conservative manifesto. He said: "This is what Conservatives do well - it should be front and centre. The Conservatives should be championing it [the living wage] because it rewards staff, engenders loyalty, and increases productivity - that means growth."

Labour has hit out at the government in recent weeks about the slow growth in wages, despite the economy being on a major upturn. Labour believes that by paying workers more it will reduce the benefits bill as well as continuing to strengthen the economic recovery.

Chancellor George Osborne did raise the minimum wage earlier this autumn to £6.50, but Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised a rise in the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2019 if he wins the general election next year.

Despite the boost to the economy in 2014, many families are still struggling to cope with the cost of living, with many still relying on food banks to help them get by.

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