British Business Secretary Vince Cable says there have been “significant rises” in the national minimum wage.
The Liberal Democrat politician said in a statement that he asked the Low Pay Commission to consider whether the minimum wage, currently £6.31 an hour for over 21 - year - olds, could be pushed up ahead of inflation.
“As the economy starts to recover, the benefits of growth must be shared fairly and equally by everyone, ” Cable said, adding that the minimum wage could make a key balance between protecting the low - earners and making sure they can find employment in the country.
He also emphesized that strengthening the minimum wage should go along with tough enforcement, including hiking up penalties on “rouge” employers who do not pay their workers what they are due. The Business Secretary’s statements came after The Times reported that British Prime Minister and Conservative leader David Cameron is being urged by allies to back a significant increase with "shock value". Downing Street is said to have seen an analysis that suggests a 50p an hour increase could save the government £1 billion, as people pay more tax and claim less benefits. British Chancellor George Osborne, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and skills minister Michael Hancock are also reportedly in favour of an increase to the minimum hourly rate. According to reports, the UK national minimum wage has fallen in real terms by up to 12 percent since the financial crisis in 2008. The UK’s largest trade union Unite warned earlier that the British government’s plans to cut or freeze the minimum wage could worsen the country’s deteriorating economic situation.