The UK government approved Tuesday a hike in the hourly national minimum wage rates, which would take effect from October, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said.

The new wage hike would mean that low paid workers who are 22 years and older would receive GBP5.8 an hour from October compared to the GBP5.73 they are receiving now. For the 18 to 21 year olds, the wage would rise to GBP4.83 from GBP4.77, and for 16 and 17 year olds, the wages would go up to GBP3.57 an hour from GBP3.53.

Around a million persons are likely to benefit from the wage hike in October, which was approved by the government based on the recommendations from the Independent Low Pay Commission.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said, The Low Pay Commission has carefully examined the latest economic data before making their recommendations on the minimum wage rate, balancing the needs of workers and businesses in the current economic climate.

The report said the deadline for submission of the Low Pay Commission's (LPC) recommendations to government was extended to May 1 from February, to allow Commissioners to take into account the latest possible economic evidence.

As per the recommendations of the Commission, the government has also approved that the adult rate of the minimum wage should be extended to 21-year-olds, who are at present only receiving wages applicable for those in the age groups between 18 and 21. This will be implemented from October 2010.

Chairman of the LPC George Bain said, These are very challenging times for the UK and unprecedented economic circumstances for the minimum wage. We believe that the Low Pay Commission's recommendations are appropriate for this economic climate. They reflect the need to protect low-paid workers' jobs as well as their earnings.

The Low Pay Commission was established following the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, to advise the Government about the National Minimum Wage. Its commissioners include representatives from business groups, trades unions and academics. The National Minimum Wage remains one of the most important rights for workers.

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