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National minimum wage increases to £6.31 an hour

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The national minimum wage for adults has increased by 12p to £6.31 an hour.

The new rates, first announced earlier this year, will see 890,000 low paid workers benefit from the increase.

  • The rate for 18-20 year olds is up 5p to £5.03 an hour.
  • The rate for 16-17 year olds is now £3.72, up by 4p an hour.
  • For apprentices, employers will need to pay £2.68 an hour, up by 3p.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The National Minimum Wage is a vital safety net in protecting the low paid. Each year, the Low Pay Commission carries out a huge amount of detailed and valuable work to make sure they recommend a rate that supports people on low pay without damaging their chances of getting a job.

“But as signs of an economic recovery start to emerge, we need to do more to make sure that the benefits of growth are shared fairly across the board.”

Employers who fail to pay the national minimum wage will be publicly named and shamed under revamped plans announced last month to make it easier to clamp down on rogue businesses, as part of the Government’s efforts to toughen up national minimum wage compliance.

However, there are worries that the national minimum wage increase is not high enough to offset the effects of inflation on low paid workers.

Sampson Low, head of trade union UNISON, said: “The minimum wage is a vital safety net benefiting about one million workers a year.

“But over the last couple of years, it has not kept pace with inflation and it urgently needs to increase. It is not a living wage.

“We also need greater resources for legal enforcement by HMRC inspectors and for companies and public bodies to take greater responsibility for their supply chain and the agencies they use.”