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British finance minister backs minimum wage rise

Published on Jan 17, 2014 5:49 PM

LONDON (AFP) - British Finance Minister George Osborne said he backed an above-inflation rise in the minimum wage to support the fragile economic recovery.

Conservative Mr Osborne told the BBC on Thursday that "Britain can afford" for the figure to rise from the current of £6.31 to about £7.00 (S$13.1 to S$14.6).

Prime Minister David Cameron backed Mr Osborne's call, which appeared timed to overshadow a speech which opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband was due to give on Friday.

"Because we're fixing the economy, because we're working through our plan, I believe Britain can afford an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage, so we restore its real value for people and we make sure we have a recovery for all and that work always pays," Mr Osborne said. Britain's 12-month inflation slowed to the target rate of 2.0 percent in December.

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