The government’s decision to increase the minimum wage by 3.8 per cent has been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which describes the move as "striking a sensible balance".

Under plans announced by Gordon Brown yesterday (March 5th), the adult rate will rise from £5.52 to £5.73 an hour, while the rate for 18 to 21-year-olds will increase to £4.77 and the minimum hourly pay received by 16 to 17-years-olds will go up to £3.53.

Responding to the development, John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, stated: "Over the last few years the Low Pay Commission has taken the right stance by not increasing the minimum wage by more than the growth in average earnings, whilst also taking into account the prevailing economic climate and firms’ ability to pay."

During this period of economic uncertainty, the CBI welcomes the government’s "moderate approach", he added.