What is the minimum wage 2021? Current UK national basic pay rate explained, as Labour vote on £15 an hour

The national minimum wage has been hot topic at the Labour Party conference this week, leading to the resignation of Andy McDonald from the shadow cabinet

The Labour Party conference has been rocked by the resignation of frontbencher Andy McDonald.

Mr McDonald dramatically quit Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet, stating the leadership had ordered him to argue against a proposed minimum wage hike.

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Unite is calling for a £15-an-hour minimum wage - a proposal likely to be backed by the Labour conference - amid fresh challenges to the party’s leadership.

Here’s all you need to know about the minimum wage and how it compares to the living wage.

What is the minimum wage 2021?

Workers on minimum wage received an increase in the hourly rate paid this year, under government plans outlined by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak confirmed the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage will increase for the 2021/22 financial year, during his Budget delivery.

The National Living Wage is what the government calls the basic hourly pay for workers in the top tier, who will be aged 23 and over when the new rates come in.

The new rates will see an hourly increase of 19p for the majority of workers in the top tier, with 23 and 24 year-olds benefitting from a 71p jump from April 2021.

Current minimum wage rates per hour:

  • Apprentices - £4.30
  • 16-17 year olds - £4.62
  • 18-20 year olds - £6.56
  • 21-23 year olds - £8.36
  • 23 and over - £8.91

How does minimum wage compare to the UK Living Wage?

The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage are different to the UK Living Wage and the London Living Wage.

The UK Living Wage and the London Living Wage are both voluntary pay benchmarks employers can sign up to - though not legally required.

The UK Living Wage works out a fair minimum rate of pay based on the costs of everyday needs, like food, rent and including utility bills, campaigners say.

The Living Wage Foundation, an independent organisation, which assesses the minimum wage required to live off says the UK’s real living wage is £9.50, or £10.85 for London.

Since 2011, the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 250,000 people and put over £1.3 billion extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

What is Labour set to vote on?

The Labour Party conference will vote on a motion from the Unite union calling for a £15-an-hour minimum wage this week.

It is an issue which led to Mr McDonald dramatically quitting Sir Keir’s team, claiming he had been ordered to argue against the hike in pay rates.

“This is something I could not do,” Mr McDonald wrote.

In his resignation letter, he told Sir Keir: “After 18 months of your leadership, our movement is more divided than ever and the pledges that you made to the membership are not being honoured.”

Sir Keir responded: “My focus and that of the whole party is on winning the next general election so we can deliver for working people who need a Labour government.”

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