New rates for the UK national minimum wage (NMW) come into force today (1st October 2014). From now those over 21 must receive a minimum of £6.50 an hour, a three percent rise over the previous £6.31.

According to the Low Pay Commission between 1.1 and 1.3 million people will gain from the increase with 60 percent of them being women, according to the TUC.

Recently, on 18th September, an open letter was circulated by a group of senior business leaders, which said:

"Now, as the economy recovers, we believe the minimum wage should rise faster than it has in the recent past. A stronger minimum wage will benefit businesses, improve public finances, and help tackle low pay. The economy is growing again. But we must ensure that all employees are benefiting from the recovery – especially the lowest paid in society who find it hardest to make ends meet."

Signatories to the letter included:

Falling coins by

Sir George Bain, the former chair of the Low Pay Commission

Alan Buckle, the former deputy chairman of KPMG

Jeremy Bennett, chief executive officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Nomura Holdings

Chris Britton, founder and partner at B&B Investment Partners and former chief executive, Findus Group

Sir Ian Cheshire, chief executive, Kingfisher

Iain Ferguson, chairman, Stobart Group

Steve Marshall, executive chairman, Balfour Beatty

Kevin Mcgrath, chairman, M&M Property Asset Management

Robert Stephenson-Padron, managing director, Penrose Care

Craig Wilson, managing director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services, UK

Commenting on the new NMW rates, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"It is good news to see the worst paid adult workers receiving a pay release above inflation for the first time for six years. But it's a muted celebration because the minimum wage would be worth at least £7 today had it kept up with rising prices.

"Politicians from all parties and many business leaders now agree that the minimum wage should increase far more rapidly. Britain needs a pay rise and a wages-led recovery is the best chance we have of sustaining economic growth and restoring living standards."

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