From today, the two million taxpayers that are on minimum wage will see their hourly rate go up. There are different rates for people in different age brackets. Any rise in income is good news. But will the rise offset the new increases in the bills we are working to pay?
What are the minimum wage increases?
These are the minimum wage rates for the different age groups for the new 2019-20 tax year and the old 2018-19 financial year, as reported by the BBC.
|2018-19 Tax Year||2019-20 tax year|
|16-17 year olds||£4.20||£4.35|
|18-20 year olds||£5.90||£6.15|
|21-24 year olds||£7.38||£7.70|
|25 year old and over||£7.83||£8.21|
For the oldest age group, this is an increase of 4.9%. It is reported that 60% of those who will see a difference in their wages are women and most will be in the retail or hospitality sectors.
As reported in the Guardian, the business minister, Kelly Tolhurst, said: “Our minimum wage rates are among the highest in the world and, through our modern industrial strategy, we are determined to end low pay and workers get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
But what else is going up?
There are quite a few everyday costs that are going up in price, including:
- Prescriptions: going up to £9.00, from £8.90 – this is only in England
- TV licence fee: up by £4.00, to £154.50 per year
- Energy bills: on average up by £117 for the year, for people on default or variable tariffs (over 50% of the population)
- Council tax, or equivalent local area tax: up by more than inflation
- Vehicle tax: a range of the different vehicle taxes are rising
- Water bills: up slightly
So, even with an increase to minimum wage earners, things are still going to be tight for many families. There is no breathing space with the accompanying rises of life’s necessities.
What are the different opinions about the minimum wage rises?
Many people are saying that, although this is a positive step, it is still not actually enough money for people to live on. For example, director of the Living Wage Foundation, Katherine Chapman, said: “The increase in the government minimum wage will provide a welcome boost for low-paid workers, but this is still over £1,500 a year short of a real living wage. Around 6 million workers are now paid less than the living wage and are struggling to keep their heads above water.”
And the TUC highlight the unfairness of the disparity for younger workers. Frances O’Grady, their general secretary said: “Young workers are still getting a raw deal on pay. Their bills aren’t any cheaper, but they have to make ends meet with less.” The average minimum wage earner that is in the 21-24 year old category makes £800 year less than their older colleagues.