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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Roles and Responsibilities: The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, sections 6, 7, 8, 29, 30 and 50


The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (formerly the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) has policy responsibility for the national minimum wage. Its Secretary of State has parliamentary responsibility for national minimum wage legislation, including the making of Regulations. The Secretary of State can refer issues to the Low Pay Commission (NMWM02010) for consideration and receives its reports at the same time as the Prime Minister.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills arranges the publicity required by the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. As well as issuing press releases, it publishes various leaflets, posts information on its website at and also arranges for publication of guidance on relevant Government websites.

In September 1998, the Department of Trade and Industry announced that the Inland Revenue would have overall responsibility for enforcing national minimum wage from 1 April 1999. This function passed to HM Revenue & Customs on 18 April 2005 on the merger of Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (NMWM02060) acts as agent for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in England and Wales and enforces minimum wage rates for agricultural workers. Similar arrangements apply for agricultural workers in Scotland with the Scottish Executive (NMWM02060) and in Northern Ireland with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. (NMWM02060).