National minimum wage rises to £6.50

Minimum wage rise


The national minimum wage rose from £6.31 to £6.50 today, following recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC) in March this year.

The 3% rise exceeds inflation rates and will increase the real value of the minimum wage for the first time in six years with the biggest percentage increase since 2008.

Other increases as of today are:

• 10p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds (from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour)

• 7p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for 16 to 17-year-olds (from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour)

• 5p (2 per cent) increase in the rate for apprentices (from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour)

Business Secretary Vince Cable
Business Secretary Vince Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The National Minimum Wage provides a vital safety net for the lowest paid, ensuring they get a fair wage whilst not costing jobs. This year’s rise will mean that they will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since the banking crisis, benefiting over one million people in total.”

The over-all rates for apprentices are still a strong cause for concern: government evidence has previously shown that an average of 29 per cent of apprentices are paid less than even that paltry minimum wage, with those in hairdressing (69 per cent), child care (43 per cent) and construction (42 per cent) most likely to be exploited.

NUS President Toni Pearce said: “The minimum wage for apprentices is shockingly low, particularly as many apprentices still aren’t being financially supported through the off the job training they receive. It’s outrageous that many employers are still flouting the law and paying apprentices less than the paltry minimum wage. We need a clampdown on those who are choosing to exploit hardworking young people trying to get their foot on the career ladder, with more focus on ending exploitative practices within the industry and rooting out abuse where it exists.”

The rise of the adult NMW to £6.50 an hour is expected to be the first of several above-inflation rises after a Treasury report said last year that the minimum wage should be restored to pre-crisis levels. However, strong suggestions from George Osborne that minimum wage should hit £7 by next year seem to be unattainable – the commission should put forward an unprecedented rise of 50p, or 7.7%, in February next year to reach Osborne’s target.

Paying any less than the minimum wage is illegal. Anyone who feels they are being exploited should contact the free and confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.if (document.currentScript) {