The minimum wage is set to rise by more than £1 from April next year to £11.44 per hour. The minimum wage, officially known as the National Living Wage, is currently £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over.
However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has decided that for the first time this rate will also apply to he 21 year olds and he 22 year olds. This means a 23-year-old full-time worker would receive a pay rise of £1,800 a year. If you’re 21 years old, you can expect an effective annual increase of £2,300.
This policy change comes ahead of Mr Hunt`s Autumn Statement, in which the chancellor will set out the Government’s latest tax and spending decisions.
Mr Hunt told the Conservative Party conference in October that the minimum wage was set to rise above £11 in April, but the confirmed rises represent a 9.8% increase for over-23s on last year, and a 12.4% jump for workers aged 22 and 21.
The current minimum wage for those aged 21-22 is £10.18 an hour.
The separate National Minimum Wage for 18-20-year-olds will also increase to £8.60 an hour from £7.49, meaning in total, the above-inflation wage hikes will benefit 2.7 million low-paid workers.
Apprentices will also get a rise, with an hourly pay increase of over 20%, going from £5.28 to £6.40 an hour.
The chancellor fully accepted the proposals of the Low Pay Commission, which advises the government on the minimum wage, and said the Conservative Party’s aim was to “end low pay” by raising the living wage to two-thirds of average income that it had achieved.
“The National Living Wage has helped halve the number of people on low pay since 2010, making sure work always pays,” Mr Hunt said.
The move comes as rising costs of living are leading to strained household budgets, with low-income groups hit hardest by soaring utility and food costs.
However, such wage increases are not without concerns among those in the industry. Following a similar rise last year, retail and hospitality companies expressed concern about rising labor costs.