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Corbyn pledges PS10 an hour for young.

LABOUR minimum wage plans could have "grim consequences" for youth unemployment, think tanks have warned.

Business leaders also cautioned Labour against playing "political football" with wages as Jeremy Corbyn pledged PS10 an hour for young workers at a speech in Birmingham.

Party leader Mr Corbyn has announced a new policy to abolish the "youth rate", which currently pays 16 and 17-year-olds a minimum wage of PS4.35 per hour, compared to PS8.21 for those over 25.

Addressing 150 Young Labour activists in Birmingham yesterday, Mr Corbyn said: "Equal pay for equal work is hardly a controversial idea, so why are we discriminating against young people? "You don't get a discount at the shops for being under 18.

"But if the person serving you on the other side of the counter is young, they could be on half the wage of their colleagues.

"Frankly, it's time to end this discrimination. So today I am announcing that when Labour gets into office, we'll extend the PS10 living wage to under-18s."

He added: "Imagine what that would do for the lives of young people, especially those from poorer backgrounds.

"It will be nothing less than life-changing."

Professor Len Shackleton, from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank, said Labour's announcement made clear it was in "a bidding war" with the Tories and had closed the door on experts on the Low Pay Commission.

Accusing politicians of preferring to "pluck pay increases out of the air", Prof Shackleton said: "This would mean doubling the pay of young people who understandably have fewer skills and less experience than older colleagues.

"Such a rate hike could raise youth unemployment to levels comparable with those in continental Europe."

Matthew Percival, head of employment at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), also said youth rates help to cut youth unemployment.

Mr Corbyn did not take questions following the speech.

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Title Annotation:News; Opinion; Columns
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 12, 2019
Words:321
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