My mother pays her cleaner £10 for two and a half hours' work. My sister could find someone to clean her place for a little less, and indeed hires the most junior staff in her burger bar for £2.75 an hour. As for my cleaner, I used to pay her £6 an hour, and then turn a blind eye if she sloped off early. The explanation is pretty straightforward: the parents live in Leicestershire, my sister in Bradford and I in a reasonably trendy part of central London. My sister would be a fool to pay even a fiver an hour in Yorkshire, and it would be time for me to get the Dyson out myself if I tried to find someone for much less.
Yet, talk to George Bain, the head of the Low Pay Commission, and he explains that for reasons of simplicity, not only will the magical minimum wage figure, when it finally comes, be set at the same level across all industries, from textile workers to commercial, if not domestic, cleaners, it will also be fixed at the same rate across the country.
The strength of his argument is understandable in its desire to cut through the bureaucracy that a more sophisticated system would most probably entail.
And in its desire to reach a conclusion within the lifetime of this Government.
The only flaw is that while a uniform system may be the simplest option, it simply does not make sense.