Ministers provoked union anger yesterday after they froze the minimum wage for under-21s and increased its level by less than two per cent for older workers.
They insisted the moves were essential to help the unemployed find work. The hourly adult rate will rise by 11p to £6.19 in October, while it will stay at £4.98 for 18 to 20-year-olds and £3.68 for 16 to 17-year-olds.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said: "Raising the youth rates would have been of little value to young people if it meant it was harder for them to get a job."
But Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: "Even in the current economic climate there was room for an increase in the minimum wage that at the very least kept pace with inflation and earnings."Reuse content