National Minimum Wage

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Ashok Kumar Ashok Kumar Labour, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people (a) in the UK and (b) in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East have benefited from the minimum wage; and what measures are in place to ensure that employers are paying the statutory hourly minimum wage.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs)

Based on the Office for National Statistics' low pay data released in 2003, the DTI estimates that around 1.2 million people in the UK should have benefited from the introduction of the minimum wage in April 1999. We also estimate that between one million and 1.2 million people in the UK should have benefited from the increase in the minimum wage rates in October 2003.

It is not possible to provide estimates specifically for Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East. However, the DTI estimates that around 80,000 people in the North East should have benefited from the introduction of the minimum wage in April 1999 and that between 80,000 and 90,000 people in the North East should have benefited from the increase in the minimum wage rates in October 2003.

The Inland Revenue enforce the minimum wage on behalf on the DTI. If a worker believes they are not receiving the minimum wage they should contact the minimum wage helpline (0845 6000678). All complaints about underpayment, including those from third parties, will be investigated. The Revenue also make use of their own data, including tax credits information, to make proactive visits to employers whom they suspect may not be paying the minimum wage. In 2002–03 the Revenue completed over 6,200 investigations and identified £3.6 million of minimum wage arrears.

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