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The Government has recently introduced a new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for apprentices in their first year of apprenticeship (or under 19) so they are only entitled to £2.50 per hour.
What you may not know is the Government is planning a secretive piece of legislation, currently in the “Bill” stage (Training Wage Bill) which has been delayed until 2011.
This “Private Members” Bill is designed to create a new wage exempt from the National Minimum Wage. I can only think it will mean a wage lower than the National Minimum Wage (otherwise it wouldn’t be required) and could perhaps even be lower than the £2.50 apprentice rate.
With no details being released about the Work Programme (which is expected to be a combination of Flexible New Deal and the scrapped Work for Your Benefit scheme) and an workfare scheme of some sort under way shortly… it is likely this Training Wage Bill is designed for the purpose of reducing wages further below NMW in particular to legalise workfare.
The official description (all that is dislcosed at the moment) is as follows:
A Bill to make provision that persons receiving a training wage are exempt from legislation relating to the minimum wage; and for connected purposes.
Training? Apprentices already have an National Minimum Wage rate. New Deal and Flexible New Deal etc. always were marketed at giving jobseekers new skills through an “employment course” scam (reduces claimant count).