PROPOSALS to increase the minimum wage to £7 an hour have been backed by Worcester's MP.

Robin Walker said an 11 per cent hike, which has been criticised by employers, would "be a positive thing for the economy" and allow more cash to get into worker's pockets.

Last week Chancellor George Osborne backed the dramatic rise on the current rate of £6.31, saying the economy's uplift justifies a steep increase.

The end decision will be up to the independent Low Pay Commission, which has been asked to look at the implications.

Mr Osborne said if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would now be over £7.

His call has been opposed by the Federation of Small Businesses, which has suggested the rise should stay in line with inflation, currently just below two per cent.

Mr Walker said: "A good way of decreasing the welfare budget would actually be to increase the minimum wage.

"This is about making sure work pays and I do support this.

"I think it's the right that the Government should be focused on paying people more because it's a positive thing for the economy to be able to do that.

"I'm glad to see this is heading in the right direction."

The Institute of Directors said it should be offset by a reduction in employers’ National Insurance contributions.

The Confederation of British Industry has also voiced concern by saying an unaffordable rise "would end up costing jobs."

But it has already won the support of low paid workers across the country and unions.

Mr Osborne said: "I think Britain can afford a higher minimum wage. I think we have worked hard to get to this point and we can start to enjoy the fruits of all that hard work."