£10 minimum wage should apply to 16-year-olds, Jeremy Corbyn says
Sixteen-year-olds should be paid a minimum wage of £10, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.
Currently, the minimum wage for those between 16 and 18 is £4.05 an hour. That rises to £5.60 at 18, £7.05 at 21 and £7.50 for those 25 and over. Labour pledged in its election manifesto to raise the minimum wage for over-18s to bring it in line with the living wage, which the party said would reach £10 by 2020.
Asked by a delegate at a Unison conference in Brighton yesterday whether the wage should also apply to 16-year-olds, Mr Corbyn said: “Yes, the £10 an hour living wage, real living wage, is correct and also should apply to all workers, because I don't think young people eat less than old people – that's my experience anyway.”
Business groups warned that the move would make it more difficult for young people to get a job. The British Chambers of Commerce said it could "price them out of the workplace", while think tank the Adam Smith Institute warned the move could force business to higher older, more experienced workers.
“When you raise the minimum wage too much, businesses don’t take on as many workers and they’ll prefer older, more experienced ones to younger, riskier hires,” said Sam Bowman, executive director.
“That means that youngsters can’t get their foot on the ladder and hurts their earning power for their whole lives. It also means we’ll be paying more for groceries and other things that people on low wages rely on, because supermarkets will have higher wage bills.”
A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) insisted the group wanted to see the minimum wage rise, but said any increases had to be “sustainable”. “The CBI backs a rising minimum wage. But that path requires careful, independent monitoring and the Low Pay Commission must continue to ensure it reflects wider economic performance,” he said.