Boris Johnson announces plans to raise minimum wage by 6.2% from April
Boris Johnson has announced plans to raise the National Living Wage by 6.2% from April.
Almost three million minimum wage workers will benefit from the pay boost, which will see them taking home up to £930 extra each year under the new plans announced by the government.
The raise, described by Mr Johnson as the "biggest ever" cash boost for low paid workers, will see the National Living Wage jump from £8.21 per hour to a minimum of £8.72 per hour in April.
Meanwhile, 21-24 year olds receiving the National Minumum Wage will also receive a hike from £7.70 to £8.20 an hour.
The cash boost, which is four times the rate of inflation, still falls short of the £9.30 hourly rate called for by the Living Wage Foundation, who claim the higher pay is required to meet the rising cost of living.
Announcing the plans, the Prime Minister said for too long "people haven't seen the pay rises they deserve" as he vowed to "level up access to opportunity across our great country".
He added: "Our government will put a stop to that, giving nearly three millions people from Edinburgh to Eastbourne a well-earned pay rise, including the biggest ever cash boost to the National Living Wage."
But the plans drew criticism from some business groups, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) saying the "magnitude" of the rise would mean some firms would be less likely to make new hires or force them to cancel investment plans.
Craig Beaumont, FSB director of external affairs and advocacy, said: "There's always a danger of being self-defeating in this space."
He added: "Wage increases aren't much good to workers if prices rise, jobs are lost and there's no impact on productivity because employers are forced to cut back on investing in tech, training and equipment."
But Chancellor Sajid Javid said the record 51p boost was the first step in making the 2020 the "year of levelling up".
Writing in The Sun, he added: "I believe the best possible start to 2020 for millions of hard-working people on lower wages is to give them a pay rise. SO that is exactly what we are doing.
"This government believe in bringing everyone up, not in punishing those who succeed.
"Getting Brexit done doesn't just mean passing legislation, to me it means helping people so that they know the country works for them."
He added: "Lower paid workers are crucial to our economy, whether carers for our elderly and disabled relatives, hospitality staff ensuring we have a great festive season or manufacturers producing world-class goods."