Minimum wage to rise by 21p

Low paid workers will see their salaries increase by 21p an hour this October as the minimum wage rises to £5.73.

The pay rate for 16 to 17-year-olds will also rise from £3.40 to £3.53, while the rate for 18 to 21-year-olds will increase by 17p to £4.77.

The government says that the rises will benefit nearly one million low paid workers, two-thirds of whom are women.

John Hutton, the government’s business secretary, said: “The national minimum wage remains one of the most important rights introduced by the government in the last decade.

“Before it was introduced, some workers could expect to be paid as little as 35p an hour, our legislation has ensured that can no longer happen.

"I am proud of the minimum wage - it makes a real difference to the lives of many of our lowest-paid workers and protects them from exploitation. It also creates a level playing field for business and boosts the economy."

The latest increase means that the minimum wage will have increased by 59p since it was first introduced in 1999.

Paul Myners, chairman of the Legal Practice Court, said: "Despite many predictions to the contrary, job numbers in the industries most affected by the minimum wage have grown and grown significantly over the same period."

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