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Wages Rise Fastest for Poorest Britons Since 1998, ONS Says

The earnings of Britain’s bottom 1 percent of workers have risen faster than those of the top 1 percent since 1998, as a result of the adoption of the minimum wage.

Workers at the bottom of the income scale saw their earnings increase by 51 percent between 1998 and 2011, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. The top 1 percent had a gain of 30 percent over the same period.

Britain introduced a legally binding national minimum wage in April 1999 under the Labour government of Tony Blair. Overall, full-time employees earned 62 percent more after adjusting for inflation than they did in 1986, despite an erosion in pay since the financial crisis began in 2007, the statistics office said.

Since 1986, higher earners have done better than those further down the scale. The top 10 percent enjoyed a real wage increase of 81 percent, with the earnings of the top 1 percent surging 117 percent, the ONS said. The bottom 10 percent saw their incomes rise by 47 percent, though the very lowest-paid gained 70 percent.

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