Since its introduction in 1999 the national minimum wage has increased by 59 per cent. It has helped to narrow the regional pay gap and had a positive effect on the earnings gap of disadvantaged groups such as workers with disabilities, women (around two thirds of the workers who stand to benefit from the October 2008 rise are women) and certain ethnic minorities. Through the introduction of tax credits and the NMW, this Government provided a minimum income guarantee for the first time. In October 2008 this will guarantee that every family with one child and one person working 35 hours a week will receive a minimum income of £295 per week. For the similar families without children, this figure is £225.