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Minimum wage in U.K. going up to over $10.50/hour

The British pound today is at slightly above $1.90 (US). So, the minimum wage in pounds sterling of 5.05 will be at least $10.50 -- because it is a sure thing that the dollar will continue to fall against the pound and the euro. "For too long, poverty pay capped the aspiration and prosperity of far too many hard-working families." -- Prime Minister Tony Blair. Entire story from BBC On-Line follows:
Minimum wage increased to 5.05

The minimum wage will rise in October, benefiting more than 1m people, the government has announced.

Adults must be paid at least 5.05 an hour, up from 4.85, while 18 to 21 year olds will be paid 4.25.

The recommendations came from the Low Pay Commission which said the number of jobs had continued to grow since the minimum wage was introduced in 1999.

Businesses wanted it frozen, warning more rises could damage competitiveness but the unions want a 6 rate.

Women 'most affected'

A further increase in the adult rate to 5.35 an hour is provisionally scheduled for October 2006.

According to the commission, many businesses had found the last two significant increases in the minimum wage "challenging".

"We have therefore recommended only a slight increase above average earnings, and concentrated it in the second year to allow business more time to absorb the impact," said chairman Adair Turner.

The government says most of those on the minimum wage are women - with many working in cleaning, catering, shops and hairdressing.

Unveiling the latest increase, Mr Blair said he wanted the minimum wage to become a "symbol of decency and fairness".

"For too long, poverty pay capped the aspiration and prosperity of far too many hard-working families," he said.

"Too often, people were told to make a choice between the indignity of unemployment or the humiliation of poverty pay."

Chancellor Gordon Brown and Transport Secretary Alistair Darling promoted the news in Edinburgh, Wales Secretary Peter Hain and Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan in Cardiff and Northern Ireland Minister John Spellar in Belfast.

The government has not accepted the commission's recommendation that 21-year-olds should be paid at the adult rate, but says it will look again at the rate later on.

Mr Brown said: "We want to do nothing that can damage the employment opportunities for young people, particularly young people entering the labour market for the first time."

The government has said it will look at tougher action against the small number of employers who consistently refuse to pay the minimum wage.

The national minimum wage is currently set at 4.85 per hour for those aged 22 and above, and at 4.10 for those aged 18 to 21.

A 3 per hour minimum wage was introduced last October for 16 to 17-year-olds, but apprentices are exempt.

The Trade Unions Congress welcomed the increase, but has called for a 6 minimum wage by next year.

But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called for a "pause year" to assess the impact of the above inflation rise in the minimum wage in October.

And David Frost, director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The level of increase each year has increased by rates far outstripping the rates of inflation.

"What employers are saying to us now is that it's at a level where it's starting to bite into the competitiveness of companies right across the country."

Low-paid workers

The Liberal Democrats' economics spokesman Vincent Cable said he supported the move to raise the minimum wage. "It's not just good for the workers themselves but it lifts them out of benefits and therefore is good for the Exchequer too," he said.

Conservative leader Michael Howard said he accepted the principle of the minimum wage and would not "seek to disturb" the increase.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Mr Howard hinted the Tories might go into the general election with a promise to cancel income tax for the lowest-paid workers.

"There are people on very low salaries, very low incomes indeed who really shouldn't be paying income tax," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/02/25 17:20:26 GMT


add a comment on this article

Could you live in a socialist country like that? 25.Feb.2005 20:59

IMAGINE "I'm not the only one"

Yeah, and they even have socialized medicine and free education through graduate school ! Let's see, socialized medicine and school paid by the (socialist) government PLUS you get paid AT LEAST $10.50/hour -- could you live with that?

They have a labor party 25.Feb.2005 21:19

George Bender

We don't. How stupid is that?

... 25.Feb.2005 22:08


we have a labor party


what we don't have is a representation system that accepts the
participation of more than two parties except as "spoilers"

Not a bed of roses 25.Feb.2005 22:16

Brit in PDX

It may seem ideal but the cost of living in the UK is outrageous. The National Health service (NHS) is not ideal and university tuition is not free anymore. Not many people get graduate school paid for thats for sure.

Blair is a 'Champagne socialist' and the only thing the 'Labour' party shares with socialism is history. Let's not forget his unwavering support for the conquest of Iraq.

Phony Tony... 26.Feb.2005 04:27

Tony Blair's dog

is trying his best to take credit for anything
that may put him in a better light these days.

But since he is a hypocrite and a liar his
pathetic attempts only take him closer
to the enevitable end, disgrace and jail.

No free rides.. 26.Feb.2005 05:54

typical american

Its typically American to expect something for nothing. But when was the last time you actually got something worthwhile for nothing?

Yes minimum wage maybe $11 an hour in the UK, but if housing $900 a month for a one bedroom flat with rats that you share with 3 other people, a small meal costs $7, public transportation costs $2 each way, Plus there is a 17 percent tax on everything you buy, then its not really a bargain anymore is it?

God and Socialist utopias only exist in one place, man's imagination.

get a clue, U.S. is ELITE CORPORATE SOCIALISM, JUST LIKE USSR 26.Feb.2005 06:44


to the 'typical american' You don't live in a capitalist country you know, right? You support corporate socialism you hypocrite. Forgive me if you know this, though to say that above, you are definitely thinking that there is something capitaistic about

1. Bush's crony contract arrangements and warprofittering that goes to his family linkages alone
2. cotton subsidies
3. forcing kids to eat irradiated beef in school, beef that consumers don't want to eat, just to help your friends technology along.
4. Walmart, connected to the Rockefellers, consoldating all the world's consumer stores away.
5. centrally planned Federal Reserve currency flows
6. income tax that hits people hard, and corporations hardly at all
7. a military corporate empire that takes half your taxes each year.
8. a centralized media that is designed to 'wag the dog.'
9. and on...
10. and on..

Good thing they get you kiddies into school early, so you can learn to stop thinking...

for the "typical American" comment 26.Feb.2005 13:18

Bean Counter

Good points by "me" about how Americans are poorly educated -- or actually brain-washed. Also, a good point about whether the current American system should even be called "capitalism". What the famous Adam Smith actually wrote and taught has been distorted out of all recognition by the neo-cons. Check out the David Korten web site. (Google on "David Korten" with "Adam Smith".)

Interesting statement and question by the "typical american" -- "Its typically American to expect something for nothing. But when was the last time you actually got something worthwhile for nothing?"

First I have believe that "typical american" has to expect anything that "it's typically American to expect." Since I don't even aspire to call myself a "typical american," I'm probably not an expert on what such typical people (if they exist) expect. Without a statistical survey to cite, all I can say is that I greatly doubt whether MOST Americans expect something for nothing. SOME Americans, however, expect just that -- inheritors, what are called "trust income babies," and anyone that is part of the Bush crime family. THOSE Americans found Bush and the Congress very sympathetic to their plea that their unearned -- their EXPECTED "something for nothing" -- should never be subject to any tax at all ! ! ! (It's ONLY wage-earners who should be taxed.)

let's talk about quality of life and cost of living... 26.Feb.2005 14:02

this thing here

why is that americans enjoy their vacations in europe so much? what is it about life over there that is so attractive and romantic?

getting on a bus, to travel to a subway station, that takes you to an even bigger train station, and travelling from the heart of one megalopolis, underneath the sea, to the heart of another in three hours, (or even to a small town), not needing a car, or a plane, or a taxi, to travel anywhere, the ease of geting around, the food, the language, the art, the culture, so much to do...

... and yet all of these countries are "socialist", are "bad", are "old", are "terrible".

doesn't make a bit of fucking sense.

it costs so much to ride the damn trains.

compared to paying for a car, buying it gas, taking care of it, funding the fucking highways and stoplights and signs, and car insurance?

the cost of living and the taxes are so high.

well, either you pay for your cancer treatment, your employer does, or the government does. somebody has to pay for it. which will it be? what is the best way to pay for it?

does it cost a fortune to live in london? hell yes it does, it's insanely expensive. but what about living in new york city? and where ISN'T the cost of living on earth high? "well, it isn't in mexico or india." suuurre it isn't, as you come walking in with the power of your greenbacks compared to the peso...

so, if you don't like europe (even though your family's blood is german, or french, or irish, or english, or danish, or dutch, or finnish, or italian, or whatever, or some mixture thereof), DON'T go on vacation there, don't enjoy yourself there, don't wonder why the quality of life in europe is as high as it is compared to other places on earth, and be just like president bush, and even though you have the money, never travel anywhere and refuse to see the world, and wonder why other people think you're fucking dumb and clueless and without anything to offer...

now, as for the typical old horse of a comment that was trotted out, "god and socialist utopias", my response is this: name me one capitalist utopia here on earth.

Higher wages 26.Feb.2005 14:09


Just a thought, but if we are not slaves to the corporate owners of America, then how come all property is subject to taxation by the corporate controlled government? In the book "The Grand Chessboard" the owners of America actually referred to the citizens of this country as SLAVES. Of course we are "their" slaves so that makes us special. So, when the slaves of the UK get a better deal from their owners that really pisses this slave off.

capitalist utopias 26.Feb.2005 14:35

T. A.

I think the point is that capitalists don't look for or expect to find a utopia, capitalist or otherwise. So yes, there are no capitalist utopias on earth, and none expected..

better deal? 26.Feb.2005 14:38


To Pissed off Slave A.K.A muse

Why do you believe the UK has things better than the US?

Have you ever lived there?

the only people who have things better in the UK are the ones the Queen calls "Sir".

Keep in mind, if you disagree you are free to immigrate there or Sweden or any other place that you think the grass and politics are greener..

and MY point was... 26.Feb.2005 15:02

this thing here

since there aren't any capitalist utopias here on earth, don't wonder why people try and come up with an alternative. is the alternative better? maybe, maybe not. but they tried. because they had to try something. they weren't about to sit around and wait for capitalism...

Socialism is "middle-class" 27.Feb.2005 14:26

Red neck

Some of these comments just show how good our propaganda is.
I always like how Americans take the most disagreeable aspects of capitalism or modernism in general and associate it with socialism. The media has done a bang-up job of turning socialism into our shadow.
I'm not a great fan of England for a lot of different reasons. But every time I've gone to London the difference is shocking. Jesus, civilization at last! Even though its been heavily Americanized and has it own nasty capitalistic history, it's still civil in contrast with the supermarket of the world. For one, you don't see that incredible anger and desperation that permeates America (even down South)
"housing $900 a month for a one bedroom flat with rats that you share with 3 other people, a small meal costs $7" sounds like typical big city USA.
Most of you know almost nothing about socialism so it's easy to stereotype. I lived in Eastern Europe for several years. My wife grew up in Czechoslovakia, she was shocked by the poverty, brutality and ugliness of AmeriKa. I've visited almost all the former "Soviet Block" and most of our perceptions are superficial and distorted. In fact I was astounded by how good they had it....and since I now "own" property there I would move back in a second (such a better fuller life.) if it was economically feasible. But since these country have had their economies destroyed after the fall.....

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