The UK's national minimum wage is to increase by 19 pence an hour to £6.50 later this year, giving more than a million workers a pay rise.

The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up by 10 pence to £5.13 an hour - a 2% increase - while for 16 and 17-year-olds the statutory rate will rise by 7 pence to £3.79, also 2%.

The minimum wage for apprentices will go up by 5 pence to £2.73 an hour, with all the new rates coming into force in October.

The UK government said it had accepted recommendations from the low Pay Commission, including plans for bigger increases in future than in recent years.

"The recommendations I have accepted today mean that low-paid workers will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since 2008. This will benefit over one million workers on national minimum wage and marks the start of a welcome new phase in minimum wage policy," commented the UK Business Secretary Vince Cable.

"The independent Low Pay Commission plays a crucial role in advising the government about the minimum wage. This is why I asked them to look at how we could restore the real value of the national minimum wage as the economy recovers," Mr Cable said.

"The LPC's new forward guidance gives us a much better understanding of how an economic recovery can be translated into faster and significant increases in the national minimum wage for low paid workers, without costing jobs," he added.