Prime minister Gordon Brown has announced that the minimum wage will increase from £5.52 to £5.73 an hour this October, a rise of 3.8%.
This is greater than the government’s chosen measure of inflation – the consumer price index, which stood at 2.2% in December – but less than the more comprehensive retail price index, which was 4.1% at the latest count.
The rise in the adult minimum wage will benefit 780,000 people, two-thirds of them women, with low-paid care workers among those likely to profit.
Care sector wages
The latest data from the national minimum data set for social care gives the median wage for care workers as £5.85, with 20% earning £5.36 or less, though this is based on figures dating back to 2006.
The hike in the adult wage will be accompanied by rises in the minimum pay rates for 18- 21-year-olds, from £4.60 to £4.77, and for 16- and 17-year-olds, from £3.40 to £3.53.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis welcomed the rise but said it fell short of what was required to help poorer people deal with rises in the cost of food, fuel and poverty, saying £6.75 was a more realistic figure.
Low Pay Commission