MP backs campaign for ‘fair wages for all ages’

Lesley Laird MP has pledged to back a bill which would extend the National Living Wage to young people – as part in a bigger bid to bring the UK out of poverty.

The move comes after the National Living Wage (Extension to Young People) Bill ran out of time to be heard in Parliament recently and won’t be considered again until November 23, 2018.

Lesley also supported an event held by Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) at Parliament recently calling for ‘fair wages for all ages’.

Lesley said: “When Labour introduced its flagship Minimum Wage Act in 1998 the Tories blanched and fought to oppose it, only to later concede the policy had been a success.

“It’s incredibly disappointing, therefore, that Holly Lynch’s attempt to have Parliament consider her bill to extend the National Living Wage to younger people was kicked into the long grass for months.”

The compulsory National Living Wage is currently £7.83 an hour, whereas the real Living Wage – set by independent experts to meet the real cost of living – is determined to be £8.75 per hour outside London.

To date, 3,000 business have signed up to the real Living Wage but the scheme is not compulsory.

Currently, workers under the age of 25 years are legally entitled to just the Minimum Wage, with people aged between 18 and 20 working  for £1.90 less an hour – 25 per cent less –  than an older colleague.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath said: “This is simply unfair, given young adults face the same living costs as older adults.

“They’re not expected to work 25 per cent less than their colleagues and they certainly won’t get a 25 per cent discount on their gas bills, food bills and rent costs either.”

Earlier this week, the Resolution Foundation published new research which revealed the UK economy has stagnated, despite record levels of people in work.

Lesley commented: “The reality is the Tories have created a low wage and zero-hours contracts working culture which has resulted in ‘just about managing’ families in the UK being no better off today than those in 2003.

“And it gets worse. One in every eight workers in the UK – that’s 3.8 million workers – are living in poverty and they’re being ignored by a Government hell-bent on pursuing austerity.

“That’s why we need to protect workers’ rights, starting with this extension bill.

“But Labour would go further and raise the minimum wage to £10 per hour for all workers aged 18 and over and ban zero-hours contracts.

“Because Labour alone has the vision and values to create a fair and decent society in which honest workers can build a stable life for themselves and their families.”