National minimum wage to rise in October

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has announced that the national minimum wage will rise on 1 October 2009.

The full rate for those aged 22 and over will increase 7p to £5.80 an hour. Meanwhile, the rate for 18-21 year olds will rise 6p to £4.83, and for 16 and 17 year olds will increase 4p to £3.57. The response to the changes has divided along traditional lines.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development argued that it would put pressure on employers who were already struggling. Charles Cotton, reward adviser, said he had called for a freeze, and explained: “We are concerned that this decision will increase the risk of job losses in low paid sectors. This should have been avoided at a time when deflation on the RPI measure of inflation will limit the impact of a national minimum wage freeze on people’s real living standards.”

Meanwhile, Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress welcomed the increase, saying: “Low paid workers will be relieved to see a further increase in the minimum wage this year. The LPC was right to withstand pressure from business to freeze the minimum wage.

“This increase is a very slender one. The LPC must be much more generous when the economy recovers next year.”

The LPC also announced that from October 2010, the full national minimum wage rate would be extended to cover those aged 21 and over.