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National minimum wage rise takes effect

The main rate of the national minimum wage (NMW) has risen to £6.31, with effect from 1 October.

The new rate represents an increase of 12p an hour for adults. Meanwhile, the NMW rate for 18 to 20 year olds has also risen, to £5.03 an hour, and 16 to 17 year olds are now entitled to £3.72 an hour.

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) believes that the latest rise in the NMW is not sufficient, and has called for bolder increases in the future.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said, ‘Years of below-inflation rises mean that the UK’s lowest-paid workers are now facing an historic living standards crisis. As the recovery takes hold we will need to see far bigger increases to the minimum wage to ensure that ordinary people and not just the super rich benefit from economic growth’.

According to the organisation, a 4% increase in the NMW, to £6.56, would release £0.25bn of public spending.

Some campaigners are calling for the introduction of a voluntary ‘living wage’, which would exist alongside the NMW and would reflect the real cost of living.