Minimum wage to rise to £6.70 in October
The national minimum wage for those aged 21 and over will rise by 20p an hour to £6.70 in October.
The 3% rise is the biggest rise in real terms (after inflation) since 2008 and will benefit more than 1.4 million low-paid workers across the country.
Youngsters will also benefit, with those aged between 16 and 17 seeing their wages rise from £3.79 to £3.87 an hour, while those between 18 and 20 will see a 17p jump to £5.30 an hour.
The rate for apprentices will also rise, by 20%, to £3.30 an hour. The new apprentice rate will apply to those aged 16 to 18 or those age 19 or over who are in their first year as an apprentice.
The uplifts in wages were recommended by the Low Pay Commission - an independent body that advises the government on the minimum wage - but the government rejected its 7p proposed rise for apprentices and upped it by 57p instead.
Hard work rewarded
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "At the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain is a simple idea - that those who put in, should get out; that hard work is really rewarded; that the benefits of recovery are truly national.
"That's what today's announcement is all about - saying to hardworking taxpayers, this is a government that is on your side. It will mean more financial security for Britain's families; and a better future for our country."
In response, Labour shadow secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chula Umunna, said: "This 20p rise falls far short of the £7 minimum wage which George Osborne promised over a year ago. Ministers have misled working families who have been left worse off. Where
under David Cameron we've seen the value of the minimum wage eroded, we need a recovery for working people.
"Only Labour has set a more ambitious target for the minimum wage, which would see a rise to £8 by 2020, restoring the link between hard work and pay."
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).