£7.20 National Living Wage comes into force

The National Living Wage has come into force across Britain, raising the minimum wage to £7.20 for all workers aged over 25.

The move was first announced in the 2015 Summer Budget, and will result in a £900 wage increase for full-time workers on the current National Minimum Wage.

2.9 million workers are expected to benefit from the increase by 2020, with 1.3 million expected to receive an immediate pay rise.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “I said last year when I announced plans for the National Living Wage that Britain deserved a pay rise. Today, I’m proud to say Britain is getting one.

“So I’m delighted that 1.3 million people across Britain will benefit from the biggest wage increase in eight years thanks to the new National Living Wage.

“The National Living Wage will play a central role in moving Britain to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy. It will also mark the end of the gender pay gap for some of our lowest paid and hardest working people.”

However, the rise has drawn some criticism, as workers aged 21 to 24 will continue to be entitled to the National Minimum Wage of £6.70 an hour.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC union, said: "Britain desperately needs a pay rise, and this increase is good news for those aged 25 or older.

"But the Government must ensure that younger workers are not left behind. 21-24-year-olds will not be seeing an increase tomorrow. This is not fair. Future wage increases must narrow the pay gap between old and young.”