In the Budget, we announced the largest increases to the minimum wage youth rates in 10 years. On average, they increased by 4.9%, which was greater than the increase for the over-25s.
I am afraid that the argument the Government have put forward blows a hole in the idea that they are building a country that works for everyone. The reality is that under-25s are not included in the national living wage. Why do we have state-sanctioned pay poverty under this Government and why, shamefully, are apprentices paid as little as £3.70 per hour under this Budget?
As I have just pointed out, younger workers are getting a bigger rise than those over the age of 25. The reason there is a lower rate is that it is vital to ensure that young people get into work, get work experience and build up their skills. We do not want to end up where we were at the end of the Labour Government, with 20% youth unemployment and young people losing out on opportunities for life.