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The minimum wage and an emerging crisis of enforcement? 

A Low Pay Commissioner says underpayment is on the rise but there are simple steps the government could take to protect workers

By Sarah Brown  

This year we celebrate 20 years of the UK National Minimum Wage (NMW), which came into force in 1999 at £3.60 an hour. It is easy to forget just how controversial its introduction was. Many thought that it would force the low paid out of work. This has not been the case: over the last 20 years, the NMW has increased pay for the lowest paid without damaging employment. Pay for a full-time worker on the minimum wage is £5,000 a year higher in real terms than it would have been without it.

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