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Pay rise for millions as minimum wage increases take effect

Written by: Emma Lunn
Millions of workers across the UK will receive a pay increase from today due to uplifts in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage.

From today, the National Living Wage (NLW) will rise 2.2% from £8.72 to £8.91 an hour, and be given to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time. For a full-time worker, this equates to an annual pay rise of £345.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for workers aged 21 and 22 has increased 2%, from £8.20 to £8.36 an hour, while the NMW for people aged 18 to 20 has increased 1.7% from £6.45 to £6.56.

Pay for under 18s has increased from £4.55 to £4.62 an hour, a rise of 1.5%. The apprentice rate has increased 3.6% from £4.15 to £4.30.

The NMW and NLW have increased every year since their introduction, in 1999 and 2016 respectively.

The new rates, announced in the Chancellor’s Spending Review 2020 in November, were recommended by the Low Pay Commission, following extensive consultation.

The government says it is committed to the target of the NLW reaching two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “In this toughest of years, we’re protecting workers by putting more money in the pockets of the UK’s lowest paid. To support our next generation of workers, we’ve also lowered the age threshold for the Living Wage to 23 – ensuring even more people have the security of a decent wage.

“This increase will help millions of families in every corner of the country, while supporting businesses as we prepare to safely reopen our economy and build back better from the pandemic. I’d urge all workers to check their pay packet to ensure they’re getting what they are entitled to, and remind employers of their duty to pay the correct wage.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We know that the past year has been very difficult for businesses and families across the country. This pay rise will help support employees as we steadily reopen the economy and get more people back to work.”

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