Belfast Telegraph

100,000 Northern Ireland workers to enjoy pay rise after national wage increase

By Alan Jones

More than 100,000 people in Northern Ireland have got a pay rise after the minimum wage rates increased.

The National Living Wage, covering those aged over 25, goes up from £7.50 an hour to £7.83, while 21 to 24-year-olds will get a 33p an hour increase to £7.38.

There will be a 30p increase for 18 to 20-year-olds to £5.90 and a 15p rise for under-18s to £4.20.

In Northern Ireland 80,000 workers will receive an uplift in the National Living Wage, while a further 26,000 young workers will benefit from an increase to the National Minimum Wage.

Across the UK, more than 2m people got a pay rise yesterday.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said full-time adult workers will now earn £2,000 more than when the living wage was introduced in 2016.

"By increasing the National Living Wage, cutting income tax and freezing fuel duty for the eighth year running, we are boosting living standards for millions of people, giving them more choice over how to use their pay packet and building an economy that works for everyone," he said.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said that despite the increase in pay, in-work poverty remained a "huge problem".

She added: "It's good that the minimum wage is rising above inflation, but it needs a serious boost in the coming years. We need to get it to £10 an hour as soon as possible. At the moment it's not even on track to reach £9 an hour by 2020 - the amount promised by George Osborne."

Almost 400,000 young workers are expected to benefit from the fastest increases in the National Minimum Wage in more than 10 years, said Business Minister Andrew Griffiths, adding: "Over two million people across the UK will get a step up in pay thanks to today's rise.

"The uplift means a pay rise of over £600 a year for a full-time worker on the National Living Wage - that could be two months food shopping or a year's electricity bills."

Young Women's Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: "The minimum wage increases do not go nearly far enough in addressing the wage crisis we face. Wages are not rising in line with living costs and, while young people can legally be paid less for the same work, they will continue to struggle."

The Government highlighted other changes coming into force in April, including a 3% rise in the state pension and an increase in the tax-free personal allowance.

Campaigners pointed out that the new rates were still below the voluntary Real Wage of £10.20 an hour in London and £8.75 outside the capital.

The uplift comes after the Government published its Good Work plan in February, which announced the right to a payslip for all workers. The new law is likely to benefit around 300,000 people who do not currently get a payslip.

For those paid by the hour, payslips must also include how many hours the worker is paid for, making pay easier to understand and challenge if it is wrong.

Belfast Telegraph

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