CAMPAIGNING SNP MP Alison Thewliss has called on the UK Government to end age discrimination in UK pay for good in 2022.

This comes after new figures revealed the gap in the minimum wage for younger workers grew to its widest ever level in 2021 and set to increase further this year.

Research from the House of Commons Library has revealed the gap between the highest and lowest age band rates has grown almost every year since the minimum wage was introduced, widening from 12.5% in 2000 to 92.9% this year. In 2022, it is projected to increase to 97.2%.

This year, the UK Government lowered the highest minimum wage bracket from 25+ to 23+, however this still doesn’t eradicate age discrimination or tackle poverty.

The minimum wage for those aged 23 and over is currently £8.91, for 21 to 22-year-olds it is £8.36, for 18 to 20-year-olds it is only £6.56, for 16 to 17-year-olds it is just £4.62 and for apprentices it is £4.30.

According to the Low Pay Commission, there were an estimated two million workers paid at or below the minimum wage in April 2020 – around 7% of all UK workers. While employment powers remain reserved to Westminster, the SNP will continue to lead the campaign calling on the UK Government to introduce a Real Living Wage for all workers, which as of April 2022 will be £9.90 – still higher than the UK government’s highest national minimum wage rate.

SNP shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss said:“The gap between those on the higher and lower rate of the minimum wage has been growing steadily under the Tories.

“I am urging the Tory government to do the right thing and finally end age discrimination in UK pay levels. Your age shouldn’t determine what you are paid.

“The UK already has the highest percentage of low paid workers in North West Europe, as well as the worst poverty and inequality levels – yet millions of workers are still on poverty pay under this broken Westminster system.”