Labour leader Ed Miliband will today (Friday) pledge to ‘end the scandal of unpaid internships’, it has been announced.
In a speech in Lincoln to unveil Labour’s Manifesto for Young People, Ed Miliband will commit to introducing legislation to ban companies from offering unpaid internships for more than four weeks.
Companies will also be forced to pay young workers on an internship for longer than this time at least the minimum wage.
Mr Miliband will say that unpaid internships are ‘unfair’ to young people from low-income backgrounds and damages Britain through denying the country the chance to benefit from more talented young people.
According to a recent YouGov poll, introducing a legal limit on the length of unpaid internships would not lead to a reduction in the number of internships.
The poll also shows that 62% of businesses say it would make no difference to the number of interns they recruit. 10% said it would make them more likely to hire interns, while another 10% said it would make them less likely to recruit interns.
Other policies to be featured in Labour’s Young Person manifesto include:
- Reducing graduate and national debt, by cutting tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 and increasing student maintenance grants by £400.
- Guaranteeing high quality apprenticeships for all school-leavers that get the grades.
- Making work pay by banning exploitative zero-hours contracts, and raising the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- Investing in the jobs of the future and showing our commitment to climate change by making Britain a world leader in low carbon technology over the next decade, creating a million more green jobs.
- Ensuring no young person is left behind, by guaranteeing a paid starter job with training to all those unemployed for more than a year.
- Tackling rising housing costs, by building more homes, helping first time buyers and legislating for longer and more affordable tenancies in the private rented sector.
- Strengthening the voice of young people by giving 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote.
Mr Miliband is expected to say: “In this country, if you want a good job in a highly prized sector, you’re often asked to work for free, often for months on end, sometimes even a year.
“It’s a system that’s rigged in favour of those who can afford it.
“Putting careers in highly prized jobs – in the arts, media, fashion, finance and law – out of reach for huge numbers of highly able young people.
“It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it prevents our companies drawing on all the talents our nation has to offer.
“So we’ll put a stop to it. We’ll end the scandal of unpaid internships.
“So today I can announce, with a Labour government if you do work experience for more than four weeks, you’ll get at least the minimum wage, opening up the professions and extending opportunity for all.”
Mr Miliband will say that Labour can offer young people a better future and ensure the best career opportunities are open to people of all backgrounds.
“Today we’re here to say: Britain can be better than this for young people. And we can do this, because we know a simple truth:
“Britain’s future depends on the energy and creativity of its young people. All your ambition, all your dreams. It is our duty to support every single one of you to be the best they can be.
“Over the last five years, I’ve been talking about the Promise of Britain. The promise that says the next generation will do better than the one that came before it.
“It’s a promise that this country was built on. But it’s a promise that for your generation has been broken.
“With this government, it is young people more than any others that have been made to carry the burden of hard times.
“Facing a future of growing debt, of increasingly insecure work, a home of your own just a distant dream for so many.
“That’s not the future you believe in, that’s not the future I believe in, that’s not the future the next Labour government will build.
“So we have a better plan for education, for jobs, for housing, and for the character of our country.”