Labour will reiterate its commitment to raising the National Minimum Wage later today when it publishes its election manifesto.
The party, which has come under fire from business leaders for plans to raise National Insurance Contributions by 1 per cent from April next year, will continue its commitment to the National Minimum Wage it introduced after returning to power in 1997.
Last month is was announced that the headline national minimum wage would rise by 13p this autumn to £5.93, with the threshold for qualification lowered to include those aged 21 and above.
From October 2010 National Minimum Wage rates will increase from £5.80 to £5.93 an hour for workers aged 21 and over (previously it was those 22 and older that qualified for the full rate).
For workers aged 18 to 20 it will move from £4.83 to £4.92 for workers, and £3.57 to £3.64 for those aged 16 to 17.
For the first time an apprentice minimum wage of £2.50 an hour is to be introduced. The new rate will apply to apprentices under 19 and apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their programme.