Boris Johnson is set to increase the national living wage to £9.42 an hour, according to a report in today’s Times newspaper.
The prime minister, who will deliver his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference later today, is likely to follow recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, which in April suggested its 2022 recommendation would be £9.42.
The national living wage is the statutory minimum rate paid to those aged 23 and over, and is currently £8.91. The proposed increase would see it rise by 5.7%.
This would increase annual earnings for someone on this rate by more than £900 a year if they work full time. The increase would likely come into effect in April 2022.
Johnson’s speech today is due to focus on “levelling up” all areas of the UK, moving the country “towards a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy”, where “everyone can take pride in their work and the quality of their work”.
National living wage
He will accuse his political opponents and predecessors of “drift and dither” and will outline what he sees to be the “tools of levelling up”.
“If you want the idea in a nutshell, it is that you will find talent, genius, flair, imagination, enthusiasm – all of them evenly distributed around this country. But opportunity is not and it is our mission as Conservatives to promote opportunity with every tool we have,” he will say.
At last week’s Labour Party conference, members voted in favour of a £15 per hour minimum wage, despite leader Keir Starmer indicating he stood by the party’s previous pledge of £10 per hour.
Starmer said: “It should be a £10 minimum wage – that’s a 12% increase [meaning] £2,000 a year for working families.”
A rise to £9.42 for the national living wage would represent the third biggest annual increase since the financial crash of 2008.
In his speech, Johnson will claim his party will “not go back to the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.”
On Monday (4 October), chancellor Rishi Sunak committed to renewing the government’s job support programmes including Kickstart and the Job Entry Targeted Support (Jets) scheme.