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127,000 workers on minimum wage; 11.2% on west midlanders on lowest pay.

Byline: DEBORA ARU and JAMES RODGER

ALMOST 130,000 workers in the West Midlands are earning only the minimum wage.

With the National Living Wage for over-25s increasing from PS7.50 to PS7.83 on April 1, the Low Pay Commission - an independent body that advises the government about the National Minimum Wage - has published their estimation for the number of people on minimum wage. The independent body estimates that in the West Midlands metropolitan area, 11.2 per cent of all workers are on minimum wage in April this year, or about 127,000 out of 1.1 million.

This is an increase compared to April 2017, when 8.6 per cent of all workers were on minimum wage, or about 97,600.

Walsall sees the highest proportion locally with 15.3 per cent of workers on minimum wage, while the second highest percentage is in Dudley, 14.7 per cent. Sandwell follows with the third highest percentage in the area, 12.2 per cent.

According to the Low Pay Commission, in the UK, 9.1 per cent of workers is on minimum wage in April this year, corresponding to about 2.5 million people out of 27.7 million workers.

This is an increase compared to the same period in 2017, when 1.8 million of people, or 6.8 per cent of all workers were on minimum wage. The Low Pay Commission explains that the percentage is rising because the minimum wage is increasing faster than average earnings.

While this does mean more people on the minimum wage rates, these people have received bigger pay rises than they would have done in the absence of the minimum wage.

Chair of the Low Pay Commission Bryan Sanderson said: "When the minimum wage rises faster than average earnings, it catches up with more people's pay.

"The above average increases this April mean that the 2.5 million lowest paid workers are getting a real increase in their hourly pay."

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 13, 2018
Words:330
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