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FIGURES SHOW GAP IN REGIONAL PAY DIFFERENCES IS CLOSING

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The National Minimum Wage has helped to close the gap in regional pay ...
The National Minimum Wage has helped to close the gap in regional pay
differences, Stephen Byers, secretary of state for trade and
industry, said on the day that new figures were published showing
that enforcement officers have recovered more than£3m for the
low paid.
The largest increase in average earnings has been in traditionally
low-paying regions. Between April 1999 to April 2000, government
figures show that average earnings rose by:
* 4.7 per cent in the north east of England to£365.80 per week
* 4 per cent in Wales to£368.10 per week
* 3.8 per cent in the south west of England to£379.10 per week
* 3.7 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber Region to£373.70 per
week
Stephen Byers said:
'The National Minimum Wage is having a real impact on the lives of
millions of families.
'I am very pleased to see that the gap in regional pay differences is
closing, ensuring that people living throughout Britain are sharing
in the country's economic prosperity.'
'Today's figures show that we are doing everything we can to make
sure that low paid workers are being paid at least the National
Minimum Wage.
'Our enforcement officers will continue to pursue scrooge bosses -
news that will be welcomed by everyone, including good employers who
need to know that they are competing on a level playing field,' added
Mr Byers.
The latest NMW figures reveal that:
* Enforcement officers have won back£3.1m for low paid
workers who were not being paid the NMW - this figure includes
£140,000 in back pay for a group of homeworkers working for a
industrial company on the south coast; over£100,000 for a group of
Asian workers in London, and£80,000 for employees of a brewing
company in the north west of England
* The NMW Helpline - 0845 6000 678 - has taken over 225,000 calls
since it opened
* There have been over 6,000 complaints of underpayment and nearly
8,800 employers have been visited by enforcement officers
* 290 enforcement notices have been issued - there are legally
enforceable notices requiring all back pay to be paid to the
worker
* 42 penalty notices have been issued - if the enforcement notice is
ignored by the employer, enforcement officers issue a penalty of
£7.40 per worker for each day the notice in not complied with
Also, following the autumn NMW campaign publicising the new£3.70
adult rate, independent research found that:
* the NMW is the best known Government initiative with awareness
levels close to 100 per cent among bosses and the low paid
* over 75 per cent of those asked had seen the NMW publicity
* awareness of the NMW Helpline had nearly doubled among workers and
had increased by nearly 50 per cent among employers following the
campaign
Notes
1. The DTI is responsible for NMW policy
while the Inland Revenue enforces it through a dedicated team of
enforcement officers.
2. The government is not able to reveal more details about individual
cases which enforcement officers have been involved in as this would
breach confidentiality rules. None of the three cases mentioned on
the first page of this press notice have resulted in court cases and,
therefore for legal reasons, no specific details about them can be
disclosed.
3. The NMW adult rate (22 year olds and over) is£3.70 per hour while
the rate for 18-21 year olds is£3.20 per hour.
4. Workers who would like to find out more information about the NMW,
or would like to complain about underpayment, should call the
confidential National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678.
5. The table below shows the percentage average earnings increase
between April 1999 - April 2000 by region.
Region % Change Average Weekly Pay
In April 2000
North East 4.7 #365.8
East 3.8 #412.7
South West 3.8 #379.1
Yorkshire & the Humber Region 3.7 #373.7
North West 3.3 #385.7
West Midlands 2.8 #385.9
East Midlands 2.7 #371.4
South East 2.6 #434.2
London 1.0 #529.8
England 2.3 #416.3
Wales 4.0 #368.1
Scotland 2.8 #379.8
Great Britain 2.3 #410.6
6. The tables below shows the money won back by enforcement officers
for the low paid by region between 1 April 1999 - 31 March 2000 and 1
April 2000 and 30 November 2000.
Region 1 April 1999 - 1 April 2000 -
31 March 2000 30 November 2000
East 121,000 101,000
South West 67,000 99,000
South Yorkshire 253,000 173,000
North West 65,000 242,000
North East 142,000 199,000
W.Midlands & Wales 123,000 332,000
South East 188,000 337,000
London 141,000 125,000
Northern Ireland 76,000 182,000
Scotland 65,000 99,000
Total 1,242,000 1,889,
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