The national minimum wage for apprentices will rise again in April, from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour, the chancellor announced in his budget statement today.

This will be the second raise in a year, after the wage went from £3.40 per hour to £3.50 seven months ago.

It will now increase by a further 20 pence, after Philip Hammond accepted recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission.

This is a 5.7 per cent rate increase, above UK inflation which rose to three per cent in October, and is larger by proportion than all other minimum wage groups.

For 18- to 20-year-olds, the increase is from £5.60 per hour to £5.90, while 16- to 17-year-olds will see their minimum wage go up from £4.05 per hour to £4.20.

And for 21- to 24-year-olds, it is going up from £7.05 per hour to £7.38.

The Living Wage Foundation, which estimates the real cost of living, suggests that the national minimum wage should be £8.75 per hour outside London, or £10.20 in the capital.

Mark Dawe, the boss of the AELP, welcomed the news, but with caution.

“We have no issue with the youth rate of the national minimum wage being raised because social mobility is as much about a young person being able to afford to live as the offer of a job or apprenticeship,” he said.

“But over the longer term, with the downgraded growth forecasts in mind, we must remain mindful of what employers can afford – there is a balance to be struck.”

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