Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce an increase in the National Living Wage in Wednesday’s Budget
Image: Daily Mirror)
Low-paid Brits are set to receive a boost to the minimum wage to £9.50 an hour from next year.
Ministers accepted the above-inflation recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission, which will amount to an estimated £1,000 more a year for the average worker from April.
Tory ministers have previously claimed they would raise the minimum wage to £10.50 an hour and expand the eligibility to over-21s by 2024.
That is because ministers pledged future rises would be pegged to two-thirds of median earnings, higher than the previous 60% target.
From 1 April, the hourly rate for people aged 21-22 goes to £9.18 an hour, up from £8.36.
And the Apprentice Rate increases to £4.81 an hour, from £4.30.
But there will be questions over whether the hikes will ease the burden on struggling families, who are already facing a growing cost of living crisis.
Labour has demanded the hourly rate be increased to at least £10 but there was a row at the party’s annual conference last month over whether it should be hiked to £15.
Shadow Treasury Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “This underwhelming offer works out at £1,000 a year less than Labour’s existing plans for a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour for people working full-time.
“Much of it will be swallowed up by the Government’s tax rises, universal credit cuts and failure to get a grip on energy bills.
“It’s clear that Labour is the only party serious about improving the prospects of working people.”
But Mr Sunak insisted his party was on the side of working people.
Announcing the move, he said: “This wage boost ensures we’re making work pay and keeps us on track to meet our target to end low pay by the end of this Parliament.”
It comes as the Chancellor was also expected to ditch the cruel public sector pay freeze affecting around 2.6 million workers.
Teachers, police officers and civil servants were among the public servants affected when pay rises were put on hold in 2021/22 for all staff except for the NHS and workers who earn less than £24,000.
Soaring inflation means that even if Mr Sunak announces a 2% or 3% rise in public sector wages, it would still amount to a real-terms cut in pay.