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Our apprentices deserve fair pay, Gavin tells UK Government

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has today challenged the UK Government to commit to raising the National Minimum Wage for 18 to 20-year-olds and apprentices to at least £6.86 by 2020.

The Renfrewshire MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, and has urged them to commit to raising the National Minimum Wage to at least £6.86 by 2020 for workers aged 18-20 and for apprentices. The National Minimum Wage for workers aged 18-20 is currently £5.13 and for apprentices is currently £2.73.

Gavin Newlands, the newly-elected MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Apprenticeships are an essential part of the economy and are an invaluable opportunity for our young people to earn and learn – they make an immense contribution to the lives of individuals, the business of organisations, the productivity of the economy and the skillset of the labour market.

“However, it is utterly unacceptable that our apprentices are currently being paid a pittance – apprentices need a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“One of my constituents who is currently in an apprenticeship on £2.73 per hour is struggling to make ends meet despite working from 8 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening. She earns around £20 per day but has to spend £8 just getting to and from work each day – before any other bills.

“To put it simply, work is just not paying for many apprentices and 18 – 20-year-olds. The UK Government must act now to ensure that fair pay and decent work is the norm and not the exception in a rich country such as Scotland.

“That is why I am calling on the UK Government to commit to increasing the National Minimum Wage for people aged 18-20 to at least £6.86 by 2020 – and extend this new wage rate to our apprentices."

Kenny McFadyean, a 23-year-old former apprentice draftsmen for an international engineering company, commented:

“I started my apprenticeship when I was 19-years-old and I was paid of as little as £4 per hour. Initially, I thought that an apprenticeship would be the best of both worlds as I would be learning on-the-job and getting a wage too – but rather than being a benefit, I was running a deficit each week.

“I finished my apprenticeship in 2012 but without the support of my family I would never have been able to complete. I just couldn’t afford it. To put it simply, work just was not paying. I was working full-time but I was not earning enough to pay the rent, council tax, bills, travel expenses and put food in the fridge.

“I was paid £4 per hour and I was still severely struggling to make ends meet. I cannot begin to imagine how people who are currently on an apprenticeship and are being paid £2.70 are able to live – and if the UK Government believe that increasing it to £3.30 is enough, they are absolutely wrong.

“I am glad that my MP is raising this issue to the government and to the public now, and is fighting the corner of apprentices from here in Renfrewshire and across Scotland at Westminster.

“I hope that the UK Government listen to Gavin Newlands’ arguments and act to end the poverty pay that is currently deemed acceptable for apprentices – we deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

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