Third of British workers may benefit from new legal pay level

Up to a third of workers in parts of Britain will gain from George Osborne’s national living wage when it is introduced this week.One of the studies discovered that in the top 10 low-pay “hotspots” at least 30% of workers will benefit from the new legal floor of £7.20 an hour that will have to be paid to those employed and aged over 25. The area with the highest number of beneficiaries, with 35% of employees receiving a wage increase, will be Torridge, in Devon. Rossendale in Lancashire, Woking in Surrey, Castle Point in Essex, Forest Heath in Suffolk and Mansfield in Derbyshire, were also in the top 10.

But the study also said there was a marked difference between the hotspots and some London boroughs, where fewer than one in 10 employees will get a pay rise.

The City of London will have the fewest beneficiaries (3%) of the chancellor’s decision, announced in the post-election budget last summer, to uprate the minimum wage from 1 April. But six other London boroughs – Islington, Lambeth, Westminster, Southwark, Camden and Tower Hamlets – were among local authorities least affected. The study concluded the relative lack of employees affected by the new wage level in some parts of the country underlined the importance of the campaign for a “living wage”,which currently is set at £9.40 an hour in London and £8.25 in the rest of the UK.

It also found that Sheffield was the biggest hotspot for the government’s national living wage (NLW) in the large city regions across Britain, with 22% of employees getting a pay rise this week. Announcing his plan last summer Osborne set a target of a £9-an-hour living wage by 2020. “Britain deserves a pay rise, and Britain is getting a pay rise,” he said in his budget speech.

About 4.5 million workers will get a pay increase following the government’s decision, with the number rising to 6 million in 2020 if a £9-an-hour minimum is established by then.

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