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Minimum Wage

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will consider the merits of paying apprentices a wage at least as great as the young persons’ rate of the minimum wage. (184497)

I have been asked to reply.

“World-class Apprenticeships: Unlocking Talent, Building Skills for AH” published on 28 January 2008 confirms that the Government will be asking the Low Pay Commission to look at the whole issue of apprenticeship pay in the future.

We also recognise the need to ensure that apprentices in learning today are receiving at least the current minimum apprentice wage of £80 per week. We will therefore ask the LSC, as a matter of urgency, to write to all employers and providers contracted to the LSC to deliver apprenticeships to reiterate their contractual responsibility to ensure all their apprentices are paid at least the minimum weekly amount, and to check on compliance through the existing audit arrangements. We will also ask the new National Apprenticeships Service to work with employers and the TUC to publicise the national helpline for apprentices who believe they are being paid less than the minimum apprenticeship wage, and also look at how the current minimum could be more effectively enforced.