From 1 October 2008, the adult minimum wage rate (for workers aged 22 or over) will increase from Â£5.52 to Â£5.73 an hour. At the same time the Youth Development Rate (for workers aged 18 to 21) will rise from Â£4.60 to Â£4.77 an hour and the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds will increase from Â£3.40 to Â£3.53 an hour.
The Low Pay Commission – an independent body which advises the government on the National Minimum Wage – has recommended ever since the inception of the NMW that the adult bracket be brought down to 21 years old. Each time they’ve been knocked back by government statistics that the Commission say actually proves their point rather nicely. From this year’s report (their emphasis):
We believe that the latest evidence reinforces our view that lowering the entitlement to the adult rate to the age of 21 will not have a detrimental impact on their employment prospects and therefore recommend again that 21 year olds should be entitled to the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage. Should the Government maintain its opposition to this proposal, we would welcome an indication of the exact nature of its opposition and a specification of what would need to change for the Government to adopt a positive approach to this recommendation.