MP backs new rise in Minimum Wage

Low paid workers across Hull are set to benefit from an increase in Labour's national minimum wage that was announced today.

Labour Ministers have accepted a report from the Low Pay Commission that will see the adult minimum wage rate increase from £5.05 to £5.35; the youth rate for 18-21 year olds increase from £4.25 to £4.45; and the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds increase from £3.00 to £3.30 from October 2006.

Over 1.3 million of the UK's lowest-paid workers will see their wages increase in October as a result of the increases. 140,000 low-paid workers in the Yorkshire and the Humber region will benefit from this increase in the minimum wage.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: "Labour introduced the minimum wage in the teeth of opposition from the Liberal Democrats, who called it 'misconceived' and 'dangerous', and the Tories.

"The minimum wage has made a dramatic difference to thousands of people in Hull. Now this latest above-inflation increase will help low paid workers improve their standard of living further still.

"At the 2005 general election, Labour pledged 'a rising minimum wage'. Today's announcement demonstrates our continuing commitment to tackling poverty pay. 140,000 hard working people in our region will see their wages rise as a result of this decision."

Work and Pensions Minister Alan Johnson said: "This latest rise in the minimum wage will mean that around 1.3 million workers will get an increase in their pay from October, the majority of whom are low paid women. It's right that at a time when our economy is generally strong with the longest ever period of sustained growth and nearly 2.4 million more jobs than 1997, that we continue to help those who get paid the least.

"The Commission shares our aim to help the low paid through an increased minimum wage, while making sure that we do not damage their employment prospects by setting it too high. They have concluded that there is no strong evidence to support the contention that the minimum wage has had any detrimental effect on employment levels in low paying sectors."

"Ten years ago David Cameron was campaigning against the minimum wage and predicting it would 'send unemployment straight back up.' Yet since its introduction in 1999 the minimum wage has benefited thousands of low paid workers, the vast majority of whom are women. Today's minimum wage rise shows how Labour has changed Britain for the better since 1997."