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National Minimum Wage

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

5. How many cities were visited by the Government’s campaign bus promoting the national minimum wage in the last six months; and how many people used its services. (198415)

The national minimum wage bus visited 64 locations during a nine-week tour this year. The team spoke directly to approximately 90,000 people and distributed around 130,000 leaflets. The bus campaign also received extensive media coverage, which reached many more people. That is only one element of the minimum wage information campaign, which also includes posters, online information and radio advertising.

The minimum wage guidelines have always recognised the special role of volunteers. Can the Minister do more to remove the barriers to volunteering that some voluntary organisations believe exist under the current minimum wage regime, without leaving the door open to the abuse of voluntary workers?

My hon. Friend asks an important question, which many leading voluntary organisations have also raised with us. I am glad to tell her that the Government have tabled an amendment to the Employment Bill, which is currently being discussed in Parliament, to broaden the range of expenses that can be paid to volunteers without unintentionally triggering entitlement to the minimum wage. That will remove a hurdle to volunteering and assist volunteers, who may need help with, for example, child care costs. It is an important step to boost volunteering in the country.