Labour government will ‘change futures for the better’, says Rayner

A Labour government after July 4 will “change young people’s futures for the better”, the party’s deputy leader has said.

Before campaigning north of the border with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Angela Rayner has touted the impact the party’s New Deal for Working People will have on young Scots.

Labour claims up to 40,000 people could be given a pay rise under plans to increase the living wage for those over 18 and scrap the lower minimum wage bands for workers aged between 18 and 20.

But the figure was devised from statistics from Skills Development Scotland, which only counted the number of young people in work up to the age of 19.

Angela Rayner and Anas Sarwar waving as they walk along a street
Angela Rayner will campaign with Anas Sarwar on Saturday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

To reach the 40,000 figure, the party said it doubled the number of 19-year-olds who were counted in the statistics to reach what it described as a “conservative estimate”.

The estimate also did not factor in the number of young people already making more than the threshold Labour will put in place.

Figures from Skills Development Scotland show there were 27,003 18 and 19-year-olds in full or part-time employment in 2023, rising to 41,855 if 19-year-olds are doubled.

Ahead of her visit, Ms Rayner said: “Young workers in Scotland have seen a decade of pain, leaving them facing the sharpest end of the cost-of-living crisis.

“Under the Tories and SNP, too many workers are facing poverty, with their hopes for a brighter future dashed before their eyes.

“Only Labour will change young people’s futures for the better with a plan to grow the economy and make work pay.

“With our New Deal for Working People, all adults aged over 18 years old will receive a genuine living wage at work, delivering a pay rise to thousands of young Scots.”

Mr Sarwar described the party’s plans as “bold”.

He said: “Under the Tories, thousands are stuck in poverty pay and under the SNP, youth unemployment has risen.

“In place of Tory and SNP failure, Labour’s plans are good for growth, good for young people and good for Scotland.

“This is not as good as it gets – this is our opportunity to deliver growth and make our economy work for working people.

“Labour will deliver a decade of national renewal with tackling poverty as a guiding aim.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Labour and the SNP are intent on putting tax up for young people and everyone across Scotland.

“Their plans to hike tax on working Scots would damage our economy and put jobs at risk.”