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Minimum Wage

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of people in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) the North East and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency who would have earned a wage lower than the level of the national minimum wage if the national minimum wage had not been in existence in each year since its introduction. (302992)

Annual estimates for the number of employees who benefit from the national minimum wage (NMW) annual upratings between 1999 and 2009 are provided in table 1 and the notes. The information relates to those who benefited because they earned an hourly wage less than national minimum wage (NMW) rates prior to the uprating. It does not represent the number of individuals who would have earned a lower wage in the absence of the NMW uprating.

Full information is provided for the UK and partial information for England and the north-east. Information is not available at constituency level.

(a) Table 1 shows the estimated number of employees benefiting from the NMW in the UK.

Table 1: Job holders benefiting from the annual October increases in the national minimum wage

Number (million)

19991

1

20012

1.3

2003

0.9

2004

1.1

2005

0.9

2006

1.2

2007

0.9

2008

1.0

20093

1.0

1 Figures for 1999, take earnings inflation into account, those earning between £3.50 and £2.90 in spring 1998 would benefit from the NMW introduction in April 1999. 2 Figures for 2001, take earnings inflation into account, those earning beneath £3.40/£4.00 and £3.50/£4.10 in spring 2001 would benefit from the October 2001 increase. 3 Figures between 2003 and 2009 take into account earnings inflation. Source: BIS estimates using Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and Annual Earnings Index (AEI); Office for National Statistics

(b) Using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2008 data, BIS estimate that within England 770,000 employees were earning an hourly wage less than the October 2009 NMW rates. This estimate will be revised in December 2009 using the latest ASHE 2009 data and will be published in the 'Government Evidence to the Low Pay Commission on the Economic Effects of the NMW' December 2009 report.

(c) Using ASHE 2008 data, BIS estimate that within the north-east region 60,000 employees were earning an hourly wage less than the October 2009 NMW rates. This estimate will be revised in December 2009 using the latest ASHE 2009 data and will be published in the 'Government Evidence to the Low Pay Commission on the Economic eEfects of the NMW' December 2009 report.

(d) Robust estimates for employees earning an hourly wage less than a forthcoming NMW rate are not available at the constituency level because of small sample sizes in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).