Labour deal with unions will see minimum wage paid to 21-year-olds

Workers will qualify for the minimum wage from their 21st birthdays under a commitment reportedly agreed at the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum this week.

Evidence suggests that the closed-door meeting of ministers and trade union leaders led to a pledge from the ruling party to lower the age threshold. The National Minimum Wage is currently £5.73 for those aged 22 or older, and £4.77 for those between 18 and 21.

This commitment – itself subject to advice from the Low Pay Commission – was possibly the only firm policy decision to come out of the meeting.

However, the Conservative Party insisted that the trade unions had tightened their grip on Labour at the forum, which was held at the University of Warwick – the venue where the Warwick Agreement of promises to trade unions, which formed the backbone of Labour’s 2005 general election manifesto, was concluded.

This week’s meeting led to the production of an official document, whose contents all parties are guarding closely.

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