National Minimum Wage

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th January 2001.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 12:00 am, 18th January 2001

My hon. Friend is as generous as ever in these matters. It is probably better for the Low Pay Commission to consider any increase in the light of the labour market and the economic conditions at the time.

It is a bit rich for Conservative Members, who campaigned against the introduction of the national minimum wage, to be critical when certain groups are not included. The important point, which reflects points raised by my hon. Friends, is that the national minimum wage under this Government is here to stay. The Low Pay Commission will be there to recommend increases when it is appropriate to do so. We must ensure that the successful way in which the provision has been implemented since April last year can be continued, and that millions of families can continue to benefit from having the dignity of work that is properly paid, and having a safety net below which no one should fall in terms of the income that they receive for their hard labour.