The national minimum wage will increase by three per cent to a new rate of £6.70 per hour from October 2015.
This is the largest real-terms increase in the national minimum wage since 2008, and over 1.4 million of Britain’s lowest-paid workers are set to benefit.
The hourly rate for younger workers will also increase by 57p an hour to £3.30 for apprentices, and 8p an hour to £3.87 for 16 to 17- year-olds.
The government will also launch a consultation with businesses on the future of the National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices.
The government plans to put employers in control of the funding for apprenticeships by introducing a new digital apprenticeship voucher, which will give employers the purchasing power over the government contribution to apprenticeship funding.
The employer would register their details on a system being developed by the Skills Funding Agency including their type of business, the details of the apprentice and the apprenticeship standard being signed up to.
The discounted rate, which could be up to 100 per cent for 16 to 18-year-olds, at which employers can purchase training would be calculated and the employer would be able to pass on the voucher code to the provider that is delivering the training for their apprentice. The provider would then reclaim the value of the voucher from the Skills Funding Agency.
Announcing the increase, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “At the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain is a simple idea – that those who put in, should get out; that hard work is really rewarded; that the benefits of recovery are truly national.
“That’s what today’s announcement is all about – saying to hardworking taxpayers, this is a government that is on your side. It will mean more financial security for Britain’s families; and a better future for our country.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: “This is just one of the many ways in which we’ve created a fairer society whilst building a stronger economy. If you work hard, this government is behind you all the way.
“Whether you’re on low pay or starting your dream career through an apprenticeship, you will get more support to help you go further and faster.”
The National Minimum Wage rates from 1 October 2015
• 20p (3%) increase in the adult rate(from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour)
• 17p (3%) increase in the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds (from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour)
• 8p (2%) increase in the rate for 16 to 17-year-olds (from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour)
• The National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices will increase by 57p (20%) from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour.