Youth wage gap at record high, research warns

Minimum wage workers are now paid nearly twice that of apprentices.

8 Jan 2021| News

The pay gap between workers on “youth rates” (the lowest band of the minimum wage) and those entitled to the highest band of the minimum wage is now at the highest it has ever been.

This is according to House of Commons Library data requested by the SNP, which showed that this differential has widened from 12.5% in 2000 to 91.6% today.

Apprentices have the poorest wages, provided only £4.15 per hour by law, while 16 and 17-year-olds are not much better off on £4.55 per hour.

Meanwhile, minimum wage workers over the age of 25 – who may be conducting exactly the same duties as their younger colleagues – are entitled to £8.72 per hour.

Data from the house of commons library requested by the party showed that the gap between the highest and lowest minimum wage rates has grown almost every year since it was introduced.

In 2000, the difference between those on the lowest and those on the highest level of minimum wage was 12.5 per cent, however this year it is 91.6 per cent.

The minimum wage for those 25 and older is £8.72 per hour, while 16 and 17-year-olds are entitled to just £4.55. Apprentices have a minimum wage of £4.15.

“The Tory government must finally end decades of age discrimination in UK pay levels by introducing a real living wage for all workers,” Alison Thewliss, an SNP MP, said.

“It is a disgrace that millions of workers across the UK are on poverty pay under this broken Westminster system.”

“Younger workers don’t get a discount on their rent, bills or the weekly shop, and they can’t be expected to get by on a pittance,” she added.