Minimum wage closing geographical pay divide

The National Minimum Wage is closing the traditional differences in regional
pay – especially those between the North and South.

Figures released by the DTI show that the biggest increase in wages has been
in traditionally low-paying regions such as the North East, where average pay
has risen by 4.7 per cent to £365 per week.

Higher paid regions such as London and the South East have experienced
slower growth rates.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Stephen Byers, said, "I am
very pleased to see that the gap in regional pay differences is closing, and
that people throughout Britain are sharing in the country’s economic

The statistics also reveal that enforcement officers have recovered over £3m
for workers who were not being paid minimum wage, including £140,000 in
back-pay for a group of home workers employed by an industrial company on the
South East.

Mr Byers said, "Our enforcement officers will continue to pursue
scrooge bosses – news that will be welcomed by everyone, including good
employers who need to know they are competing on a level playing field."

By Matt Adey

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