Younger workers paid less because 'they are less productive', says Paymaster General

minimum wage

Paymaster General Matthew Hancock let the cat out of the bag at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday, when he explained why under 25s won’t get the full National Living Wage from next April.

Speaking at a meeting run by the Resolution Foundation, he said under 25s were deliberately being paid less because they’re not as productive as older workers.

At the event, he said: “This was an active policy choice. Anybody who has employed people knows that younger people, especially in their first jobs, are not as productive on average.”

Responding in today’s Daily Mirror, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Owen Smith, said: “The Tories have clearly got something against young people. It’s insulting and divisive to make sweeping suggestions that the under 25s are underproductive.”

He added: “Surely it’s not right to ask a 24 year old, with a family at home, to do the same job as the 26 year old standing next to them, for different rates of pay.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady also waded into the debate, saying staff aged 21-24 are “already paid the adult minimum wage, so there is no reason to exclude them from the new higher rate.”

She added: 'If those starting their careers are given the impression they are worth less this can only be bad for their motivation and productivity.”

The new Living Wage will be £7.20 from next April for those over the age of 25. It's still £2 less than the suggested 'Living Wage' for those living and working in London.