More than a million workers, two thirds of them low paid women will benefit from a rise in the National Minimum Wage from £5.35 to £5.52 an hour from October, Alistair Darling Labour’s Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced today.
He has accepted the level recommended by the independent Low Pay Commission which will also mean increases from £4.45 to £4.60 for 18-21 year olds, and from £3.30 to £3.40 for 16-17 year olds.
Today's announcement means the minimum wage has gone up by almost 30% more than inflation since it was introduced in 1999, with the number of jobs increasing by almost 2 million in the same time. Since October last year the minimum wage for adults, combined with Working Tax credits and other benefits, has guaranteed an income of at least £268 a week for families with one child and one full-time worker.
Too few people remember what it things were like just ten years ago under the Tories. Then workers could be paid as little as 35p an hour, cleaners £1.30 an hour and security guards £2.25 an hour.
The announcement means the minimum wage has gone up by almost 30% more than inflation since 1999, with the number of jobs in the economy increasing by almost 2m in the same period.