Boris Johnson has visited a Teesside B&Q to announce a rise in the minimum wage.
The Prime Minister toured the DIY store at the Cleveland Retail Park on Thursday morning, as he toured the region.
He was photographed speaking to employees and apprentices as he looked round the South Bank shop, after he landed at Teesside Airport earlier in the day.
The trip is Mr Johnson’s third to Teesside this year after previous visits to vaccine maker Fujilfilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham and Teesport.
It comes as the Tories aim to hold on the Tees Valley Mayoralty and win the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election on May 6.
Mr Johnson announced that millions of workers will receive a pay increase from today, as the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage uplift comes into effect.
The rate rises include a 2.2% increase in the National Living Wage to £8.91, the equivalent of more than £345 extra per year for someone working full-time.
And for the first time since it came into effect in 2016 more younger people will be eligible for the National Living Wage, as the age threshold will be lowered from 25 to 23-years-old.
Mr Johnson said: “The National Minimum and Living Wages have increased every year since they were introduced, supporting the lowest paid, and despite the challenges we’ve faced recently, this year will be no different.
“That’s why we’re providing a well-earned pay rise to 2 million people, which will be a welcome boost to families right across the UK.
“To make sure the next generation isn’t left behind, everyone over 23 years old will also now be eligible.”
In full, the increases from April 1 2021 are:
- National Living Wage (23+) has increased 2.2%, from £8.72 to £8.91
- National Minimum Wage (21-22) has increased 2%, from £8.20 to £8.36
- National Minimum Wage (18-20) has increased 1.7% from £6.45 to £6.56
- National Minimum Wage (under 18) has increased 1.5% from £4.55 to £4.62
- Apprentice Rate has increased 3.6% from £4.15 to £4.30
The new rates – announced at the Chancellor’s Spending Review 2020 – were recommended by the independent body the Low Pay Commission, following extensive consultation.
Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “This is a boost for many families across our area with more than 100,000 people benefiting in the North East, and it’s great that we’re extending eligibility for the National Living wage too.
“We know how hard this year has been for all workers, and in all the Government’s efforts we have prioritised supporting the least well off through Furlough and other schemes – this increase shows we will continue to support those on the lowest pay.”