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National Minimum Wage

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Competition and Consumers, Gerry Sutcliffe, has made the following Statement.

The Government have placed in the Libraries of the House the latest tables showing the estimated number of workers who have benefited directly from the national minimum wage between its introduction and the next uprating in October 2004. Members of Parliament wishing to know the number of beneficiaries in each area of the UK over this period are advised to consult this information. The information can also be found on the Department of Trade and Industry's website at www.dti.gov.uk/er/emar. The information will be updated
 
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every six months to take account of future increases to minimum wage rates and the release of new data from the Office for National Statistics.

I am also attaching below a regional breakdown of the number of people who are expected to receive a pay rise as a direct result of the forthcoming increase in minimum wage rates in October 2004.
Number of jobs that stand to benefit from the forthcoming October 2004 NMW uprating by region


North East110,000–120,000
North West210,000–240,000
Yorkshire and Humberside180,000–210,000
East Midlands150,000–180.000
West Midlands150,000–190,000
Eastern130,000–160,000
London80,000–100,000
South East150,000–170,000
South West140,000–170,000
Wales90,000–110,000
Scotland160,000–190,000
Northern Ireland40,000–50,000
UK1,600,000–1,900,000

Source:

Note: These data are based on 10p pay bands from the ONS central estimates and take account of earnings and prices inflation between the period Spring 2003 and October 2004; uprating from £3.80 to £4.10 for 18–21 year olds and from £4.50 to £4.85 for those 22 and over.

The DTI and the ONS do not possess any information on the number of workers who have benefited from the national minimum wage by constituency.
 
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Company Law: Flexibility and Accessibility

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, has made the following Statement.

I am today publishing a consultation document, Company Law: Flexibility and Accessibility, containing proposals designed to help ensure that company law remains up to date in future, and to make it clearer and more easily accessible in particular for smaller firms.

The proposals are for the introduction of new types of legislative power enabling company law in future to be amended by a special form of secondary legislation, making it easier to keep the legislation updated over time. The powers would also be used to rewrite relevant parts of the law to make it simpler to understand for all its users, particularly smaller firms and their advisers.

The use of the powers would be governed by stringent requirements for public consultation and for parliamentary scrutiny, and by criteria which would ensure that the needs of smaller users were at the heart of any reform proposals. Over time, I would look forward to being able to bring all the key operational provisions relating to smaller private companies together, clearly and logically, in one place.

The powers would be introduced as part of the major new Companies Bill which we are preparing for introduction as soon as parliamentary time allows. The Bill will implement the work of the independent company law review, which provided an authoritative assessment of the guiding principles for future reform, and my proposals proceed very much in that spirit.

The consultation period will close on 24 September 2004 to allow full time for consideration of these important proposals, and I have placed copies of the consultation document in the Libraries of both Houses.


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