Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Minimum wage up to £6.50 an hour
THE national minimum wage is to increase by 19p an hour to £6.50 later this year, giving more than a million workers a pay rise.
The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up by 10p to 5.13 an hour - a 2 per cent increase - while for 16 and 17-year-olds the statutory rate will rise by 7p to 3.79, also 2 per cent.
The minimum wage for apprentices will go up by 5p to £2.73 an hour, with all the new rates coming into force in October.
The Government said it had accepted recommendations from the Low Pay Commission, including plans for bigger increases in future than in recent years.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The recommendations I have accepted today mean that low-paid workers will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since 2008. This will benefit over one million workers on national minimum wage and marks the start of a welcome new phase in minimum wage policy.
"The independent Low Pay Commission plays a crucial role in advising the Government about the minimum wage. This is why I asked them to look at how we could restore the real value of the national minimum wage as the economy recovers.
"The LPC's new forward guidance gives us a much better understanding of how an economic recovery can be translated into faster and significant increases in the national minimum wage for low paid workers, without costing jobs.
"The experts will continue to advise government on future wage rises to help the low paid, and in the meantime I urge businesses to consider how all their staff - not just those on the minimum wage - can enjoy the benefits of recovery."