· News

New adult minimum wage confirmed as 5.80 per hour from October

The Government has confirmed the National Minimum Wage will increase from 5.73 to 5.80 in October this year and from October next year 21 year-olds will be eligible to receive the full adult minimum wage.

Business secretary Peter Mandelson announced low-paid workers aged 22 and over can look forward to an increase from £5.73 to £5.80 an hour, while the rate for 18 to 21 year-olds (until 2010) will also rise from £4.77 to £4.83, and for 16 and 17 year-olds there will an increase from £3.53 to £3.57 an hour.

He said: "The Low Pay Commission has carefully examined the latest economic data before making their recommendations on the minimum wage rate, balancing the needs of workers and businesses in the current economic climate.
"The Government agrees with this assessment and has accepted the recommendations for these new rates to take effect in October."

But the British Chambers of Commerce claims this increase will be unhelpful to British business. Its director general, David Frost, said: "We pressed for a freeze to the minimum wage because of the severity of the downturn and the daily loss of jobs.

"We are pleased that the increase is only a modest one, and it shows that the Low Pay Commission and the Government have largely understood the seriousness of the situation. However, a freeze would have been more help to business."