National Minimum Wage Increases By 13 pence

The government has announced that the national minimum wage has increased from £5.80 per hour to 5.93 per hour, with 21 year olds benefiting from the higher tariff for the first time. Younger workers have also benefited with the hourly rate for 16 and 17 year olds increasing from £3.57 to £3.64. 18 – 20 years olds will now receive £4.92, up from £4.83. A national minimum wage of £2.50 is also being introduced for apprentices for the first time. Interestingly, whilst the higher minimum wage tariff increased 2.2% in percentage terms, the 16-17 and 18-20 bands only increased by 1.9 and 2% respectively.

Despite the increases, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned the Government that a rise in excess of 1.7% next year is likely to prejudice job creation, particularly in light of next year’s National Insurance hike. Stephen Robertson from the BRC said “Trading conditions are tough, higher costs, such as next April's National Insurance increase will pile on even more pressure … Even a small increase in 2011's minimum wage could choke off retailers' vital potential to create new jobs”.

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