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The SNP call for further support for young people

By Rachael Glennie

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The SNP’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has urged the UK government to do more to support young people after it was reported the number of 18-24 year olds claiming out-of-work benefits in the UK had doubled in the last three months.

In the UK, 2.6 million people are currently claiming Universal Credit or Jobseekers' Allowance and are required to "seek work".

A fifth of those - 514,770 young people - are aged between 18 and 24.

Earlier this month, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2 billion “kickstart scheme” to help young workers – but the SNP said this would only see young workers short-changed because the minimum wage is so low and discriminates based on age.

Neil Gray MP has called on Boris Johnson to carry out the following steps to better support young people during the coronavirus crisis: Increase the statutory minimum wage in line with the Real Living Wage, end age discrimination within the National Minimum Wage, extend Universal Credit eligibility to students and to Uplift the Universal Credit allowance for under 25s in line with over 25s.

The SNP has also urged the UK government to be ready to reverse their decision to end the furlough scheme early if it causes an increase in redundancies - and extend it to 2021 instead of stopping it entirely on 31st October.

Commenting, Neil Gray MP said:

“Young people in Scotland and the rest of the UK have been hit with a double hammer blow between the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 – it’s time the UK government recognised this and committed to doing more to help them.

“If we are to prevent a lost generation, with our young people being hit the hardest, the UK government must invest in them by increasing the minimum wage and ending age discrimination within it, extending Universal Credit to students, uplifting Universal Credit allowance for under 25s, and continuing the furlough scheme for as long as necessary.

“The ‘kickstart scheme’ is a good idea in principle but futile if the UK government does not increase the statutory minimum wage and end age discrimination within the National Minimum Wage.

“Young people are key to our economy and our society and must be supported throughout this crisis.

" I am urging Boris Johnson to heed our calls so our young people are not left picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Brexit and a global pandemic.”

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