As of Saturday, the minimum wage has increased, with the main rate rising to £6.08 per hour, an increase by 15p. This is the minimum wage for adults aged 21 or older. For those adults aged 18-20, on the “development rate”, the increase is 6p to £4.98 per hour. The hourly rate for 16 and 17 year olds went up by 4p to £3.68 per hour and the hourly apprentice rate has increased to £2.60 from £2.50.
The TUC said the rise was necessary but Unison proclaimed that it was not high enough. In 1999, upon the introduction of the minimum wage, the adult rate was set at £3.60 per hour. It is set by the Low Pay Commission each year, which was established in 1998 in order to advise the government. This year, the commission recommended an increase in April’s report to the government, saying it would ensure that those employees and businesses that were struggling would see less difficulty with the rise.
Levels of youth unemployment are still high, meaning that the increases for them had been recommended lower in order to encourage employers to hire them. According to the TUC, the increases would mean help for 900,000 employees, mostly female.
Not Enough Increase
However, the public sector Unison’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, argued that the increase was not enough, with £8 per hour necessary in order to ensure a living wage was gained. He said, “The rise to £6.08 is a welcome cushion, but with the price of everyday essentials such as food, gas and electricity going up massively, it won’t lift enough working people out of the poverty trap.”
He urged employers to pay more than the minimum wage in order to make sure families could survive. Minimum wage in London is higher, thanks to the London Living Allowance, required for all employees who live and work in London.
This news will come as a relief to many who are struggling with the rising costs of inflation and having difficulty making ends meet due to their low rates of pay. However, with minimum wage increasing and pay freezes among rates salary pay, employees will have to look at the best-paid job.