Minimum Wage Rises As Rogue Firms Targeted
Employers who fail to pay the statutory minimum wage face being named and shamed from today as the latest increases come into effect.
The adult rate has risen by 12p an hour to £6.31 and by 5p to £5.03 an hour for 18 to 20-year-olds.
The minimum for 16 and 17-year-olds increased by 4p to £3.72 while the apprentice rate goes up by 3p to £2.68.
The Government estimates that 890,000 people will receive a pay rise because of the changes.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the Low Pay Commission recommended a rate which supported low paid workers without damaging their chances of getting a job.
"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.
"That is why in addition to their ongoing annual remit, I am asking them (the commission) to extend their expertise to help the Government and business understand how we can deal with the issue of low wages in the economy.
In particular I have asked them to look at what economic conditions would be needed to allow the national minimum wage to rise in the future by more than current conditions allow," he said.
Unions have demanded the proceeds of growth are shared with workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Years of below-inflation rises mean that the UK's lowest-paid workers are now facing an historic living standards crisis.
"As the recovery takes hold we will need to see far bigger increases to the minimum wage to ensure that ordinary people and not just the super rich benefit from economic growth.
"This will need more than any one-off pre-election boost - we will need sustained stronger rises if the real value of the minimum wage is to be restored."
The Resolution Foundation think-tank said the minimum wage will be falling in real terms for the fifth year in a row despite the increase, because it is not keeping pace with rising prices.
Campaigners called for more companies and organisations to pay a so-called living wage, currently set at £7.45 an hour for the UK and £8.55 for London.