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National minimum wages rate increased for apprentices contrary to recommendations (15 April 2013)

Date: 15/04/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, National minimum wages rate increased for apprentices contrary to recommendations

The national minimum wage has been increased by 12p an hour for adults to £6.31 from October, the Government has announced.
The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will rise by 5p to £5.03, and by 4p to £3.72 for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Ministers said they had rejected a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission that the rate for apprentices should be frozen, announcing a 3p an increase to £2.68 an hour.
The independent Low Pay Commission plays a crucial role in advising the Government when setting the national minimum wage every year said the business secretary Vince Cable. It balances the wages of low paid workers against employment prospects if the rate was set too high.
He said that the government was accepting the recommendations for the adult and youth rate increases, which struck the right balance. But at the same time he said it was worrying that there were employers who were not paying apprentices the relevant minimum wage rate.
He added that apprenticeships were vital for achieving support towards a stronger economy and it was important to continue make it attractive to young people. There fore the recommendations of LPC to freeze the apprenticeship rate was not being taken forward but instead the government was raising it in line with the youth rates and tough measures would initiated to ensure to tackle non compliance.
Tim Thomas of the manufacturers' organisation the EEF, said the announcement strikes a delicate balance between the need for an element of pay progression and the limitations employers face in accommodating pay rises.
The modest increase in the apprenticeship rate is unlikely to negatively affect apprenticeship recruitment and of much greater importance was the raising of apprenticeships standards, better information and advice to students and ensuring that apprenticeships were truly employer-led and employer-driven.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said increasing the incomes of low paid group gives a fillip to the economy and wage led growth must become part of the recovery and as such the minimum wage rates were expected to go further even though the government had rightly rejected calls for a freeze.
But he added that the Union was pleased that the ministers had increased the apprenticeship rate.

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