PAY RISE: National Minimum Wage increases 20p today

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A 20p increase in the hourly National Minimum Wage has come into effect today, bringing the new adult rate up to £6.70 an hour.

The statutory figure for 18-to 20-year-olds has risen by 17p to £5.30 an hour and pay for under-18s has increased by 8p to £3.87 with apprenticeship rates rising to £3.30.

The new rates come into force ahead of the planned introduction of a new National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour, for over-25s, from next April.

Chris Hobson, director of policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “For many businesses, their staff are their greatest asset and ensuring they are properly rewarded as far as a business is able to do so makes good business sense.

“Our own research – backed by the latest official figures – shows that a significant majority of Chamber members, and many other employers across the region, already pay their staff more than the National Minimum Wage, so today’s rate increase will have minimal immediate impact, although some sectors will be more adversely affected than others.

“Of more concern to businesses is the introduction of the proposed National Living Wage in April.”

Many firms have expressed concern at how they will afford the new NLW of 7.20 when it is introduced, which could potentially rise to £9-an-hour by 2020.

Mr Hobson added: “For the vast majority of businesses, pricing is already very competitive, and certain sectors have little scope to increase prices, either directly or at another point in the supply chain, and it’s important that any proposed increases to minimum pay levels do not become prohibitive to growing businesses which are looking to invest, create jobs and continue to drive the economy.”