‘Tories letting young people down with discriminatory minimum wage rates’

SNP call on UK Government to change the law to ensure every working person is paid the "real living wage", regardless of age.

The SNP has said the Tory UK government is “letting young people down” by refusing to change the law to ensure all that workers are entitled to a real Living Wage.

Under current UK government legislation, younger workers can be discriminated against with lower wages, despite doing the same job.

As of 1st April 2018, workers over the age of 25 are entitled to at least £7.83 an hour, while those aged 21 to 24 are only entitled to £7.38 an hour, those aged 18 to 20 are only entitled to £5.90 an hour, those under 18 are only entitled to £4.20 an hour, and apprentices are entitled to just £3.70 an hour.

27-year-old SNP MP for Glasgow East, David Linden, who left school at the age of 16 and started work as an apprentice, is calling on the UK government to “stop discriminating against young people”, and urgently change the law to ensure that all workers are entitled to a real Living Wage – currently £8.75 in Scotland, £10.20 in London.

While the powers to set the minimum wage remain reserved to Westminster, the SNP say they are “working hard to encourage employers to pay a real Living Wage”.

The SNP government’s Living Wage accreditation scheme has ensured over 1000 employers now pay a real Living Wage in Scotland – with plans to ensure a further 25,000 people benefit from their employer becoming Living Wage accredited in the next three years.

81.6% of Scottish workers earn the real Living Wage, the highest rate in the UK.

Minimum Wage vs Real Living Wage
Source: Living Wage Foundation

Commenting, David Linden MP said: “The UK government must stop discriminating against young people – and finally change the law to ensure that all workers are entitled to a real Living Wage.

“The Tories are letting young people down by stubbornly refusing to end this discrimination, which penalises workers just because of their age, and takes no account of their needs, responsibilities and living costs.

“If the UK government won’t change the law then it must devolve the powers so that the SNP Scottish Government can introduce a real Living Wage for all workers in Scotland.

“The arguments for this discriminatory Tory policy just don’t stack up.

“The SNP government is working hard to encourage employers to pay a real Living Wage in Scotland – but as long the powers remain reserved to Westminster equality and fairness will remain out of reach for far too many.”