The National Minimum Wage will rise to £5.80 per hour from October this year, for workers aged 22 and over, the government announced last week. This is a 7p increase per hour on the current rate of £5.73 - a rise of 1.2%.
For 18- to 22-year-olds the rate will increase by 6p to £4.83, and by 4p to £3.57 for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Gill Brooks-Lonican, chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers, said the increase "won’t do craft bakeries any good at all", and favours a freeze on wage increases during the recession. "So many bakeries are really feeling the results of the recession; it’s absolutely crazy," she added.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has also said a National Minimum Wage freeze would have been more helpful for businesses. "We pressed for a freeze to the minimum wage because of the severity of the economic downturn, as well as the daily loss of jobs," said director general of the BCC David Frost.
The Confederation of British Industry, however, has welcomed the rate change.
From October 2010, the top National Minimum Wage rate will be extended to include 21-year-olds.