Shipley MP Philip Davies has come under fire for supporting calls to scrap the minimum wage after demanding the Government make it easier for businesses to employ people.

Mr Davies (right) said the best way to get people back into work and off incapacity benefit was to make it easier and less burdensome for employers to take on new people.

Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell criticised Mr Davies’ support for a Bill which could abolish the minimum wage.

Mr Purnell said: “I think it’s important for us to provide help to get people to get back in to work and also to improve the incentives for people to get back into work.”

Mr Purnell urged the Tory front bench not to support the Employment Opportuni-ties Bill – expected to be debated on Friday – which would allow employers and employees to negotiate their own level of remuneration.

Speaking after the question, Mr Davies said: “I think the minister must have pre-prepared his answer because my question related to extra burdens on business such as the Equalities Bill.

“The more expensive you make it to employ people the less of it you will see.

“We need to make it to easier and less costly and burdensome for small businesses in particular to employ people as many of them are struggling.”