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National Minimum Wage

Volume 493: debated on Friday 12 June 2009

My right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council has made the following statement.

I am pleased to announce that the Government have today written to the Low Pay Commission setting out the remit for their 2010 report.

The Commission is asked to:

Monitor, evaluate and review the national minimum wage (NMW) and its impact, with particular reference to the effect on pay, employment and competitiveness in the low paying sectors and small firms; the effect on different groups of workers, including different age groups, ethnic minorities, women and people with disabilities and migrant workers and the effect on pay structures.

Review the levels of each of the different minimum wage rates and make recommendations for October 2010. The Commission is also asked to make provisional rate recommendations as appropriate for October 2011.

Consider the detailed arrangements for an apprentice minimum wage under the NMW framework (as set out in the NMW Act 1998), and to recommend the rate and arrangements that should replace the existing exemptions, together with the timing for its introduction.

The Commission is asked to do this with reference to:

a) the issues and groups to which they have particular regard when reviewing the established rates, as laid out above;

b) the need to ensure that sufficient volume, quality and sectoral variety of apprentice places are available to meet Government targets, in particular when the education participation age is raised in England in 2013 and 2015; and

c) the effective functioning of the education market and young peoples’ choices with reference to the level of financial payment available on other education and training routes.

Report to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by the end of February 2010.

The new terms of reference for the Low Pay Commission follow the Government’s acceptance of the Commission’s recommendations in their 2009 report on introducing a minimum wage for apprentices.

Copies of the remit have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.