18 March 2015
The minimum wage will increase to £6.70 this October, a rise of 3%.
The government has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation, and will also raise rates for younger workers and apprentices.
The minimum wage for 18- to 20-year-olds will increase from £5.13 to £5.30 (3%) and by 8p to £3.87 for 16- and 17-year-olds (2%).
The rate for apprentices will rise by 57p to £3.30, an increase of 20%, which constitutes the biggest ever rise.
The shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, said: “This 20p rise falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Ministers have misled working families who have been left worse off.
“Where under David Cameron we’ve seen the value of the minimum wage eroded, we need a recovery for working people.”
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, argued the rate should be higher: “For the low paid to get a fair share of the recovery, this was a year in which we could have had a much bolder increase in the minimum wage.
“With one in five workers getting less than a living wage, this is nowhere near enough to end in-work poverty. Britain’s minimum-wage workers should be very fearful of the billions of pounds of cuts to government help for the low paid that the chancellor is planning if re-elected.”
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“More than a million low-paid workers who are still finding life particularly tough will welcome the extra cash they’ll be getting in their autumn pay packets. But with many families feeling like the economic recovery is passing them by, the government should have gone for a bigger increase.
“But any rise in the minimum wage won’t help the workers whose mean bosses still insist on paying them illegal poverty wages. The government must get tougher still with those employers – especially those in the social care sector – who seem to think they are above the law.
“Ministers should be setting out a plan now to move the national minimum wage to a living wage, so that five million low-paid workers benefit. That would be best way to show we are all in this together.”