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Thursday, April 1, 1999 Published at 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK

World: Europe

Minimum wage comes in

The National Minimum Wage comes into force today in Britain.

All adults must be paid at least three pounds sixty an hour, while the figure for people aged 18 to 21 is three pounds.

Some two million people are expected to see their pay go up.

Over the past few years the National Minimum Wage has been one of the issues that has most sharply divided the Labour and Conservative parties.

The governing Labour party believes it's a key step in combatting poverty and helping the economy; the opposition Conservatives say it adds to business costs and will have the opposite effect.

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