Tory Minister Matthew Hancock has defended his party’s controversial decision to not offer the living wage to younger workers
You'd be forgiven for assuming that the Conservatives just really, really, really hate young people. They've cut their benefits, sent them to boot camps and destroyed university fees and funding – and now, for the hell of it, they're not including them in their highly lauded 'living wage' scheme either. According to Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock, this is a perfectly justifiable decision. Why? Because people under the age of 25 are just “not as productive” as older workers.
For those who aren't up-to-date, the living wage – aka the new minimum wage – was announced in the summer budget as a way of compensating cuts in working tax credits. It will rise to £7.20 an hour by next April, eventually raising to £9.00 an hour by 2020.
However, none of this will apply to people under 25: their minimum wage will remain at £6.70 an hour, with under-21s staying at £5.30.
“This was an active policy choice,” claimed Hancock at the Conservative party conference. “Youth unemployment, whilst falling quite sharply, is still a long way above the unemployment rate for the over 25s. Anybody who has employed people knows that younger people, especially in their first jobs, are not as productive, on average.
“Now there are some who are very productive under the age of 25 but you have to set policy for the average. It was an active choice not to cover the under 25s.”
Apart from the fact that, logistically, this will probably be a nightmare – it's also just a completely horrible thing to do. But the Tories seem to have a clear idea of the countries they want the UK to emulate. Earlier this week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt spouted some more bizarre and backward shit by suggesting that Britain's low paid should work as hard as the Chinese to make up for tax credit cuts.
“My wife is Chinese and we want this to be one of the most successful countries in the world in 20, 30, 40 years’ time,” Hunt said. “There's a pretty difficult question we have to answer, which is essentially, are we going to be a country which is prepared to work hard in the way that Asian economies are prepared to work hard, in the way that Americans are prepared to work hard? And that is about creating a culture where work is at the heart of our success.”
Sounds really great guys. Cheers.