Minimum wage goes up

By staff

The minimum wage is to rise by 7p to £5.80 an hour.

The rise will come into effect in October.

The rate for 18 to 21-year-olds will increase by 6p to £4.83 and for 16 and 17-year-olds will go up by 4p to £3.57.

Business leaders had warned some small firms would not be able to cope with a rise in the midst of a recession.

The low pay commission recommended that the government put a freeze on the minimum wage last week.
But Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), backed the change.

“It is not surprising that business organisations are saying an increase in the minimum wage will threaten jobs and that it should be frozen during the recession,” he said.

“The same employer groups warned us ten years ago that introducing the minimum wage would destroy jobs. In fact it has been one of this government’s greatest successes, and the minimum wage has improved the living standards of thousands of families across the UK without any adverse side effects.”

Business groups and the Conservatives strongly opposed the minimum wage when it was established in 1999.