ASKED TO WRITE an article for Labour Briefing on wage inequality for young people, I wasn’t sure where to start. I read up on the topic before making some notes and sitting down to write up the full article. But I didn’t write a full article. In fact, I’ve written only 97% of an article. Why? Because being 23, that is how much my time is worth, according to the government, compared to the time of someone over the age of 25. Or at least this is what current minimum wage legislation shows.
Under the current law, only those over the age of 25 qualify for the National Living Wage - itself a misnomer - of £7.20, while those aged 21 to 24 get only £6.95 per hour and those aged 18 to 20 get £5.55 an hour.
Despite being unable to qualify for the £7.20 an hour minimum, I am yet to find a shop that will offer me food for 97% of the price or a landlord who will charge me only 97% of the rent. In the same way, an hour of my labour - or the labour of anyone else under 25 - is of the same value as that of someone over 25 and everyone should be paid the same rate for it. So that is why this article is only 290 words, compared to the 300 you normally get.
And it will stay that way until the government decides to do something about wage inequality for young people.
Or maybe because I’ve never written for Labour Briefing before, you should only get the apprentice rate of 45% of an article from me...
St. Helens South and Whiston CLP