Commenting on the increase to National Minimum Wage announced by the government, John Longworth, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“It is encouraging that the government has confirmed the Low Pay Commission’s recommended increase to the National Minimum Wage. However, it is concerning that the government appears to have rejected evidence-led policy making, by introducing a significantly higher apprenticeship rate than was recommended by the Commission.

“Most businesses value their apprentices highly, and already pay them significantly above the apprenticeship minimum wage rate. Nonetheless, it is inappropriate for government to interfere with an established rate setting system and, at a time when all political parties are promising more apprenticeships, this wage increase could negatively impact demand for apprenticeships among those firms that are only just getting by.

“We want to see a greater focus on encouraging firms to invest in training and supporting young people as they begin their careers – that’s how we improve the skills of young people and prepare them for fulfilling and well-paid careers.”