Jeremy Corbyn pledges to extend Labour's £10 per hour minimum wage to under 18s

'It will be nothing less than life changing,' Labour leader will say in Birmingham 

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Saturday 11 May 2019 08:50
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Jeremy Corbyn will today announce that a Labour government would abolish the minimum wage youth rate, giving under 18s a £10-per-hour pay-packet.

Claiming the current system discriminates against young people, the Labour leader will say the pay rise will be "nothing less than life changing", especially for those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

As it stands, under 18s who are in work receive a £4.35 per hour minimum wage, which gradually increases until an individual is eligible for the government's "national minimum wage" of £8.21 at 25-years-old.

"When Labour gets into power, we’ll abolish the youth rate of the minimum wage," Mr Corbyn will say. "Workers should be rewarded for their work, not their age. Equal rights for workers means just that – irrespective of age, gender, nationality or race."

In the party's 2017 snap election manifesto, Labour pledged to increase the national minimum wage for all workers aged 18 and above to £10 an hour by the end of the decade.

The new policy to be unveiled by Mr Corbyn today means Labour will now extend this promise to under 18s should it win the next general election.

Party officials believe the increase would result in the average 16 and 17-year-old worker being better off by £48 per week - or £2,519 per annum.

Addressing a Young Labour event in Birmingham, the Labour leader will say: “Equal pay for equal work is hardly a controversial idea, so why are we discriminating against young people? You don't get a discount at the shops for being under 18. But if the person serving you on the other side of the counter is young, they could be on half the wage of their colleagues.

He will continue: "It's time to end this discrimination. Young people’s work should be properly valued, not exploited by employers to cut their wage bill. If they’re doing the job, pay them the wage – the Real Living Wage."

"For a 16-year-old currently on the minimum wage, what I’m announcing today will mean a pay rise from £4.35 an hour this year under a Tory government, to £10 an hour next year under Labour – more than double. For the average 16-17-year-old in employment, that will make them more than £2,500 a year better off.

"Imagine what that will do for the lives of young people, especially those from poorer backgrounds. It will be nothing less than life changing.”

Responding to the announcement, the Conservative vice chairman for policy Chris Philp, claimed: "You can’t trust Labour on the economy or on their promises to young people.

“The last Labour government saw the number of young people without a job rise to almost one million and Jeremy Corbyn’s reckless approach to the economy would see the next generation saddled with higher levels of debt and higher taxes."

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