Living wage: 85% of people think under-25s should get a pay rise

The minimum wage for those under 25 will remain at £6.70 an hour, £5.30 for under 21-year-olds and £3.87 for under 18s

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The Independent Online

A huge majority of people think the new national living wage that comes into force on Apirl 1 should apply to under-25s.

Some 85 per cent of 1000 people surveyed by CV-Library said the living wage should also be available to employees under the age of 25.

Almost half, or 46 per cent, of people surveyed thought it should be available at 18+ and a further 32 per cent said it should be available at any age.

UK workers over the age of 25 will get a pay rise of 50p on the minimum wage of £6.70 per hour as part of the Government’s plans, taking hourly pay to £7.20 an hour from April. The living wage is set to rise again to £9 by 2020.       

The minimum wage for those under 25 remains at £6.70 an hour, £5.30 for under 21-year-olds and £3.87 for under 18s.

Matthew Hancock, a Conservative Cabinet Office minister, revealed in January that younger workers would not get a pay rise because they are “not as productive” as older workers.

Mr Hancock, speaking at a fringe at the Conservative party conference, defended the decision not to apply the new living wage to all employees, saying: “This was an active policy choice. Youth unemployment, whilst falling quite sharply, is still a long way above the unemployment rate for the over 25s.

“Anybody who has employed people knows that younger people, especially in their first jobs, are not as productive, on average.

“Now there are some who are very productive under the age of 25 but you have to set policy for the average. It was an active choice not to cover the under 25s.”

An investigation by The Independent found that 16 of the UK’s biggest chains will offer staff under 25 the same rate of pay as those above, but 23 major retailers will save millions by paying younger staff less.

The Independent asked 40 retailers whether a new starter under 25 would earn £7.20 an hour or more from April next year. Next, WH Smith, Halfords and Poundland all said they would not offer pay parity, despite earning combined pre-tax profits of £873.4m.

The national living wage was the key policy in George Osborne's summer 2015 Budget. "Britain deserves a pay rise and this one-nation government is making sure it gets one, helping more people have the security of a higher wage to provide for themselves and their families," he said.

The National Living Wage Foundation, which calculates the minimum wage workers need to be paid to be able to afford living expenses, sets the real living wage at £8.25 an hour.

The UK's biggest union, the Trade Union Congress, has lobbied against what it calls the “unfair” treatment of younger workers

“Younger workers must be treated fairly. It is wrong to leave 21 to 24 year olds out: they face the same expenses as other adults and are highly productive.

“Not paying them the full minimum wage will demotivate younger adults, who will get less pay than their colleagues for the same work,” France O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said.