Thousands of young people in Wales to miss out on ‘national living wage’

Around 28,000 young workers in Wales will miss out on the UK Government’s so-called ‘national living wage’ despite still being hit by tax credit cuts, figures published by the Welsh Liberal Democrats reveal.

Under the UK Government’s plans, the minimum wage for over-25s will rise from £6.50 an hour to £7.20 in April next year, before rising to £9 by 2020. However, workers under the age of 25 will not benefit from this rise.

Figures show that in Wales there are currently 28,359 people who are paid the minimum wage and who are under the age of 25. In Wales 18,590 workers who are paid the minimum are under the age of 20 and 9,769 are between 21-24.

The British Retail Consortium, which represents most of the high streets stores, have previously said that of the 3 million workers in the sector, a third were under 25 and would miss out on the wage rise.

Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

“Once again we are seeing the Tories discriminating against younger people.

“Not only will they be hammered by cuts to tax credits, but people under the age of 25 won’t be allowed to benefit from the increase in the minimum wage. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that is simply unfair.

“Whatever happened to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work? Around 28,000 working people in Wales will miss out because the Tories see it necessary to treat young people differently. The fact is that they will earn thousands less than colleagues doing the same job.

“Any increase in the minimum wage is welcome. However, let’s be clear that it’s not a real ‘living wage’; it discriminates against younger people, and for most people it won’t be enough because they will be badly hit by the Tories’ savage cuts to tax credits.”

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