Departmental business planning processes take account of the minimum wage in the potential effect on the future pay bill and in departmental contracts. For some years, the Department for Work and Pensions has targeted pay awards towards our lower paid staff, and the lowest level of pay for directly employed DWP staff is currently £7.27 an hour compared with the 2010 national minimum wage of £5.93 an hour.
I have to say that I do not share my hon. Friend’s view. What I would say to employers up and down the country is that I hope they will take advantage of the increased numbers of apprenticeships that are paid at special apprenticeship rates in order to allow people to develop the skills they need to build future careers.
Will the Minister assure the House that during internal Government discussions he will support the minimum wage that the Labour Government introduced and make sure that for each year over the next four years it rises by at least the level of inflation?