By Ben Simmons

The 11p rise in the national minimum wage to £6.19 an hour from October is ‘a pittance at a time when household bills are going through the roof’, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Monday).

The union was also highly critical of the government’s decision not to raise the rate for those under the age of 21.

”Ministers are living in a parallel universe,” said the union’s chief, Len McCluskey. “On one hand, they are preparing to cut the 50p income tax rate for the wealthiest, yet can only manage 11p an hour for those at the bottom of the wage scales, such as carers and cleaners.”

“This is a pittance given that household bills, such as food and energy, are going through the roof.

“The fact that young people are not getting an increase is a further insult to a lost generation who have had hope and opportunity grabbed away from them.

“The government should have the political will and courage to intervene and raise the rate to a much more generous level.

“When the history of the 21st century comes to be written no one will ever describe this government as either fair or generous.”

The minimum wage was introduced in 1999 at £3.60 an hour for adults. The level is recommended each year by the Low Pay Commission.

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