Business secretary Vince Cable has intervened to increase the national minimum wage for apprentices.  Despite his advisors’ wishes, Mr Cable has overruled the recommended freeze on the minimum wage for apprentices.  The government’s Low Pay Commission had planned to keep it at £2.65 per hour.

Though the Commission is responsible for setting the wage, Mr Cable stepped in to make the hourly minimum wage for apprentices slightly higher at £2.68.  Mr Cable claims that he made this move in response to employers overlooking the wage as it stands.

“We are accepting its recommendations for the adult and youth rate increases, which I am confident strikes this balance; however, there is worrying evidence that a significant number of employers are not paying apprentices the relevant minimum wage rate,” Mr Cable stated, adding:  “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our goal to support a stronger economy and so it is important to continue to make them attractive to young people.”

The apprentice minimum wage is not the only pay rate to increase.  On 1st October, the adult hourly minimum wage will increase by 12p to £6.31, while the hourly rates for 18- to 20-year-olds and 16-to 17-year-olds will increase by 5p to £5.03 and by 4p to £3.72 respectively.

The level of the minimum wage has long been debated, as economists believe that it has a direct effect on the economy.  A recent review of the Commission revealed that the Department for Business has indicated frustration over a lack of attention to the minimum wage’s influence on the United Kingdom’s economic growth.

The minimum wage is reviewed and modified by the Commission each year.