The government has announced that the National Minimum Wage will increase by 17p an hour from £5.35 to £5.52 for workers aged 22 and over from October.
The next age group, 18-21, will see a 15p rise to £4.60.
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said that the older age group wage rise means "more than a million workers, two thirds of them low paid women, will benefit."
Taking into account the 17p increase, the National Minimum Wage has gone up almost 30 per cent more than inflation since 1999. The Forum of Private Business welcomed the news, saying it was time "a sense of reality intruded", adding that recent years have seen businesses "bombarded by escalating costs… the rise in National Insurance contributions and higher fuel costs."