Jeremy Corbyn unveils plan to more than double minimum wage for under-18s

Posted On: 
11th May 2019

The minimum wage for workers under 18-years-old will be more than doubled under a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn is to say.

Jeremy Corbyn will pledge the same minimum wage for 16 and 17 year olds as those over 18
PA Images

The opposition leader will pledge to extend his party’s plans for a so-called “Real Living Wage” of £10 per hour for all adults to include working 16 and 17 year olds.

Britain’s lowest-paid young workers currently earn £4.35 per hour, just over half the National Minimum Wage of £8.21, paid to those aged 25 and over.

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Those between the ages of 18 and 20 currently earn at least £6.15 an hour, while those between 21 and 24 earn a base of £7.70.

Labour say the hike will make the average young employee £2,500 a year better off – or a boost just short of £50 per week.

The party say the plan will be funded by cash that currently goes towards in-work benefits being directed to small and medium businesses that need it.

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Corbyn will brand the policy “nothing less than life-changing” for young workers from poorer backgrounds.

He 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.

"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. So when Labour gets into power, we’ll abolish the Youth Rate of the minimum wage. Workers should be rewarded for their work, not their age. 

"Equal rights for workers means just that – irrespective of age, gender, nationality or race.”

Elsewhere the Labour leader will take aim at the Government for “discriminating against young people” through trebling tuition fees, scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance and failing to tackle the housing crisis.