The National Minimum Wage is closing the traditional differences in regional pay – especially those between the North and South.
Figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry show that the biggest increase in wages has been in the traditionally low-paying regions such as the north-east, where average pay has now 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 prosperity.”
The statistics also reveal that enforcement officers have recovered more than £3m for workers who were not being paid the minimum wage.
This included £140,000 in back-pay for a group of home workers employed by an industrial company in the South East.
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.”