National minimum wage: Brown promises increases for 2010 to 2014

The national minimum wage will rise each year between 2010 and 2014 (external website) if Labour wins the 2010 general election, according to Gordon Brown in his speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton yesterday (Tuesday 29 September 2009).

Brown said: “[I]n the last twelve years we created the first legal national minimum wage. And in every year of the next five years we will increase it.”

Business leaders were critical of Brown’s promise on future national minimum wage increases. Reactions included the following:

  • CBI (external website) deputy director-general, John Cridland, said: “There is a danger of undermining [the Low Pay Commission's] standing if politicians make promises about what will happen to the minimum wage in future.”
  • British Chambers of Commerce (external website) director general David Frost commented that “some of the Prime Minister’s commitments, such as [...] guaranteed minimum wage rises and higher National Insurance contributions for employers will hinder Britain’s return to growth.”

Brown’s speech also made reference to the 2009/2010 national minimum wage increase, which comes into effect tomorrow (Thursday 1 October 2009), stating that “when the minimum wage rises [..] it will be 60% higher than when it started.”

The 2009/2010 national minimum wage uprating will see the adult rate rise by 1.2%, from £5.73 per hour to £5.80 per hour. This is its lowest increase since the national minimum wage was first introduced just over 10 years ago, in April 1999. The annual national minimum wage adult rate increases enacted between 2000 and 2008 ranged from 2.4% to 10.8%.

Attention is now already turning to what we can expect from the 2010/2011 national minimum wage increase.

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