The National Living Wage, commonly referred to as the minimum wage, will see a significant boost to £11.44 per hour starting April next year, marking an increase of over £1.
This rate, currently standing at £10.42 per hour for individuals aged 23 and above, will now also apply to 21 and 22-year-olds for the first time.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s decision translates into a considerable financial uplift for workers. A full-time employee aged 23 can anticipate an annual increase of £1,800, while a 21-year-old is set to experience a £2,300 boost in their yearly earnings.
This policy shift precedes Chancellor Hunt’s upcoming Autumn Statement, where he will outline the latest governmental decisions regarding taxation and spending.
Hunt had previously hinted at the wage increase during the Conservative Party conference in October, stating that the minimum wage was slated to surpass £11 in April.
The confirmed raises represent a 9.8 percent increase for those over 23 compared to the previous year and a 12.4 percent jump for workers aged 22 and 21.
“Ending low pay”
The current minimum wage for 21-22 year-olds is £10.18 per hour, and the separate National Minimum Wage for 18-20 year-olds will rise to £8.60 per hour from £7.49. These above-inflation wage hikes are expected to benefit 2.7 million low-paid workers. Apprentices will also experience a substantial hourly pay increase of over 20 percent, going from £5.28 to £6.40.
Chancellor Hunt embraced the recommendations from the Low Pay Commission, an advisory body on the minimum wage, expressing that the Conservative Party’s goal of “ending low pay” by raising the living wage to two-thirds of the average earnings measure had been achieved. Hunt stated, “The National Living Wage has helped halve the number of people on low pay since 2010, making sure work always pays.”
Bryan Sanderson, chair of the Low Pay Commission, acknowledged the challenges posed by political and economic uncertainty and mentioned that the recommended increase to £11.44 per hour aimed to navigate these complexities.
The wage increase comes at a time when the rising cost of living has put pressure on household budgets, particularly impacting those with lower incomes facing higher energy and food bills.
However, the announcement has not been without concerns from certain industries. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, emphasized the need for additional actions to address tax and costs, particularly business rates, as businesses navigate the impact of higher wage bills.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.