Minimum wage to rise 3% to £6.50

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 14:04 -- nick

The national minimum wage is to go up to £6.50 per hour in October.

With inflation currently around 2%, the rate will gain value, and this will be a small step towards making work pay for unemployed people.

The level is set by the independent low pay commission, and business secretary Vince Cable has indicated that he will accept its recommendation.

It is currently £6.31, and has been losing value for years as inflation has outstripped the tiny cash rises in its value.

The coalition has made much of its slogan that it wants to 'make work pay', but so far this has been limited to decreasing the value of benefits so even poverty-level work is more lucrative.

The number experiencing in-work poverty is now higher than the number of workless people living under poverty, and the government has been contributing to this through cutting tax credits as well as the fall in the value of the minimum wage.

It has refused to make the one change which would make a big difference - making the living wage compulsory.

This is set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 outside it, showing how far the minimum wage needs to rise to ensure work really does pay.

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