The Government has accepted recommendations from the Low Pay Commission (LPC) and announced that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will increase by 15p an hour to £6.08 in October 2011.
The statutory wage for those aged 18 to 20 years will increase by 6p to £4.98 an hour, the rate for 16- and 17-year-olds will increase by 4p to £3.68 an hour and the rate for apprentices will increase by 10p to £2.60 an hour.
It is estimated that the increase will benefit almost a million workers.
In making its recommendations, the LPC sought to strike a balance between the needs of low-paid workers and the challenges faced by businesses in the current economic climate.
However, the new rates have been criticised by the British Chambers of Commerce, which believe the changes will be a barrier to job creation and, ultimately, economic recovery, and by Unison, which believes the rise in the adult rate will be outstripped by increases in the cost of living, whilst the 10p rise in the apprentice rate will not be enough to help young people ‘hit hard’ by the recession.