Nearly 44% of workers under the age of 25 will lose out over Tory plans for a ‘National Living Wage’, says the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Chancellor George Osborne announced in last month’s budget that a so-called National Living Wage set at £7.20 an hour will be introduced from next year for workers over the age of 25. This will rise to £9 an hour by 2020.
Critics argue it isn’t a “true living wage” and that any increase in wages brought about by the changes would be “wiped out” by cuts to in-work tax credits and housing benefit.
A parliamentary question from Shadow SNP Spokesperson, Alison Thewliss, asked how many people between the ages of 16 and 24 in Scotland and the UK are earning less than £7.20 per hour.
The Parliamentary Secretary Rob Wilson responded by saying the figures fall within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. Those figures reveal that 43.7%, or approximately 160,000, earn less than £7.20 an hour and would not be eligible for any increase.
Commenting on the findings, Alison Thewliss said: “Many of Scotland’s young people will lose out when it comes to the introduction of the Tory’s so-called ‘National Living Wage’.
“By only having a rise in minimum age for those over 25, 160,000 young workers will lose out and be treated differently despite having the same costs.
“Westminster’s unfair cuts have already hurt those on low incomes hardest, and now young people on low incomes are set to bear the brunt of even more cuts, including seeing working tax credits reduced and housing benefit removed for under 21s.
She added: “We need a stronger Scotland Bill- devolving powers over the minimum wage would allow Scotland to ensure better standards of living for all of our workers, not just those over a certain age.”