§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the national minimum wage was introduced; what the level was; what the(a) level and (b) date was of each increase; and what each of these levels was as a percentage of the national average wage. 
§ Ruth Kelly
The information requested falls within the responsibility National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Michael Meacher, dated 27 October 2003:As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question about when the National Minimum Wage was introduced, what its levels have been over the years, and what percentage of the national average wage these levels represented. (133852)42WSDetails of the different wage rate levels and when they were introduced are given in the attached tables. UK legislation covering minimum wage rates for employees over the age of 18 was introduced on 1 April 1999 (Table 1). Since 1999, the rates both for 18–21 year-olds, and for those over 21 have been increased.Table 2 compares the threshold for the adult minimum wage with average pay for the nearest comparable age band for the New Earnings Survey, which is conducted in April each year.
Table 1 National Minimum Wage Period to which minimum wage rate applies Ages l8–21 (£) Age 22 + (percentage) April 1999–May 2000 3.00 3.60 June 2000–September 2000 3.20 3.60 October 2000–September 2001 3.20 3.70 October 2001–September 2002 3.50 4.10 October 2002–September 2003 3.60 4.20 October 2003– 3.80 4.50
Table 2 Survey date Minimum wage rate of people aged 22+ Average hourly pay of people aged 21+ Minimum wage as percentage of average hourly pay (percentage) April 1999 3.60 10.13 34.5 April 2000 3.60 10.62 33.9 April 2001 3.70 11.30 32.7 April 2002 4.10 11.86 34.6 April 2003 4.20 12.16 34.5