Minimum wage to rise above £5

The national minimum wage for adults will go up to £5.05 an hour from October and to £5.35 the following year, the Government has announced. The rate for 18 to 21-year-olds will also go up 15p to £4.25, but the rate for 16 to 17-year-olds will stay at £3 with the next review due in February 2006. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warned that increases in the minimum wage must not become a rubber-stamping exercise. "Continuous year-on-year above inflation increases in the rate are dangerous for the economy and send the wrong message to employers," Alan Tyrell, the FSB's Employment Chairman, said.