Low Pay Commission to check out Norfolk

MARK NICHOLLS Officials from the Low Pay Commission are in Norfolk today to carry out spot checks on workplaces in an exercise that will help set the new level of the minimum wage.

MARK NICHOLLS

Officials from the Low Pay Commission are in Norfolk today to carry out spot checks on workplaces in an exercise that will help set the new level of the minimum wage.

The focus is likely to be on industries in the region that are noted for low wages: agriculture, cleaning, care homes and hairdressing.

Commissioners Ian Hay and Professor William Brown, who arrived in Norwich on their factfinding visit yesterday, are today due to meet cleaning contractors, union staff and business representatives to hear their views on the national minimum wage.

Mr Hay explained: “We do about 10 visits to regions a year to assess the impact of the minimum wage in various industries. We have come to Norfolk for that reason and we are looking at agriculture, cleaning, care homes, hairdressing and other industries that are normally low paid.

“We will be looking at the impact the minimum wage has on their business and the different rights for employees, and asking if they are too complicated and should be made simpler.

Most Read

“Our visit could make a significant difference, it really depends on what we find and how companies and people are coping with the minimum wage.

“Norfolk has a substantial influx of migrant workers and we will look at how that affects the minimum wage as many are prepared to work for the minimum wage and for long hours.”

The findings from the visit to Norfolk will contribute towards any recommendation the commission makes for a revised minimum wage amount for the year 2007-08.

Prof Brown said: “We welcome the opportunity to meet people in Norfolk. By talking first hand to those affected by the minimum wage, we gain a valuable insight which helps inform the work that we do.”

The commission is a statutory body whose role is to advise the government on the national minimum wage.

The national minimum wage for those over 21 is £5.05 an hour. For those aged 18 to 21, or over 21 but in the first six months of a new job with a new employer and receiving accredited training, the rate is £4.25 per hour. The minimum wage for 16 and 17-year-olds is £3 an hour.

It is next due to rise in October, from £5.05 to £5.35 an hour.