I agree with many points in this thread, and think that from my limited experience of the industry, that most of it is very true sadly, however I do have a couple of points to raise.
Firstly, comparing the hourly fee for a professional, self employed model to that of a girl who works as an EMPLOYEE for a large company on £7 an hour is totally wrong. It is like comparing an apple to a potato. They are different things. Why not try comparing the hourly income for a model to that of another self employed person. they will have overheads to pay. They will have to do their own marketing, promotion, advertising, accountancy, and other jobs to do which will all have to be done in time they are not being paid for, and in time they cannot be working elsewhere for pay. the other option is to pay somebody else to do these jobs for you... either way, this will be costing money and/or time.
This is however similar for many other self employed professions. Most photographers who earn their money shooting family portraits or weddings etc have suffered the same. Nobody wants to pay for quality, because funds are limited, so they make a compromise and go for the best they can afford within their budget. This means for some that their wedding photos will be distincly average. The same goes for amateur photographers shooting models... they try to get the best they can afford... some can afford only to shoot TFP, some can pay £20 an hour etc. This is lmiting the work for the higher quality models AND photographers alike.
Similarly other self employed professions whatever the field may be. If i want a builder, decorator, mechanic etc... i suually phone around and get the best quote for the job i need doing... this doesnt mean I will be getting the best worker but I will be getting one I can afford to do the job I need to an expected standard.
I totally believe that the best models should be able to charge the best rates. A lot of them are worth every penny and more. Sadly the number of them is decreasing due to the number of people willing to pay them decreasing... but in times of hardship, everybody is under increasing pressure as we earn less and living costs just increase every year. Unless somebody can manage the economy a bit better than Gordon Brown and George Osborne this will be the case for some time yet.
However, the model expects her expenses to be paid, and expects to get the going rate from day 1 - the make-up girl has to pay her own travel, lunch, parking etc and gets paid more with experience - some of the new girls coming on here are asking the same (if not moer) than the models who have been here for years...
How many make up counter girls have to travel for three hours to get to work?!
The length of time someone has been a model is irrelevant if they are worthy of payment. They still have the same outgoings and costs.