The National Living Wage will rise to £10.50 an hour by 2025, the government has said. So, how high could the lowest wages actually go?
What happens to the minimum wage already affects lots of low paid people – from bar staff to waiters and nursery nurses to sales assistants.
But the planned increases – announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid – mean the wage will increasingly affect many more.
When it reaches £10.50, it will be two-thirds of the median (middle) wage. It is likely to affect one in four employees and will be extended to all employees aged 21 and over by the mid 2020s.
But is there a limit to increasing the lowest wages and what are the benefits and risks of paying more?
How high is the minimum wage?
The UK already has one of the world’s highest minimum wages.
For workers aged 25 and over it is currently £8.21 an hour – a level known as the “National Living Wage”. There are also lower rates for younger workers, ranging from £4.35 to £7.70.