A majority of people support raising the minimum wage to £15 per hour in the UK

Campaigners say the increase would ‘boost living standards for many workers across the country’

A majority of people are in favour of the minimum wage rising to £15 an hour ‘over the next few years’, according to a new poll.

Calls for an increase in the minimum wage, which is currently £8.91, have heightened since the pandemic and have been spurred again by recent spikes in inflation.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • More than 60% of people support the minimum wage being increased ‘gradually over the next few years’ to £15 per hour, according to a poll of 1001 people carried out on 29 September by Survation, on behalf of employment think tank, Autonomy
  • The most likely age group to support the increase were 45-54 year olds (72%), followed by under 35’s (57%)
  • The policy was most popular among people in London and Scotland (70%), though enjoys broad support in every region of the UK 
  • The polling comes days after Labour members voted in favour of a non-binding motion at party conference backing the policy
  • Labour MP Andy McDonald resigned from the shadow cabinet last week at party conference over a row about the leadership’s opposition to a £15 per hour minimum wage and full sick pay

What’s been said?

Will Stronge, Director of Research for Autonomy, said: “With rising inflation and the effects of a pandemic that has put severe strains on people’s livelihoods, promises of a £10 an hour minimum wage are beginning to look outdated and insufficient.

“As we come out of the biggest economic crisis of our times, a higher minimum wage is an obvious starting point for ‘building back better’.

“£15 an hour is a fair and decent wage which would boost living standards for many workers across the country.”

Asked earlier this week about Labour’s position on the minimum wage, shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: “We will make an assessment of that, which I think is the responsible thing to do, closer to the general election.

“Our position is that it should be at least £10, that is what we have made absolutely clear, and, by the way, we are perfectly happy for conference and for the delegates to vote for the motion that is before them today.”

Background - what is the current minimum wage?

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

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.

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.

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