Public says raise the minimum wage, new social attitudes survey shows

Tuesday 10 July 2018

YWTToday’s new British Social Attitudes survey shows that 71 per cent of people think the minimum wage should be higher. This comes after Parliament last Friday debated extending the National Living Wage to under-25s – a campaign supported by Young Women’s Trust, a charity that helps young women on low or no pay.

Responding to the survey, Young Women’s Trust communications and campaigns director Joe Levenson said:

“Today’s survey backs up what young people are telling us: raising the minimum wage for young people – so they aren’t paid less for the same work – is not just their top policy priority but is crucial to ensuring they don’t get trapped in poverty.

“We all need a basic amount of money to get by, no matter how old we are. The bus to work costs the same, whether you’re 24 or 26. Gas and electricity costs the same. Rent doesn’t cost any less in your early 20s.

“Politicians should support young people seeking to be financially independent by significantly increasing the apprentice minimum wage and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”


Notes to editor:

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. The British Social Attitudes survey is done annually by the National Centre for Social Research.
  3. This year’s survey shows that:
    1. 71% of people think the minimum wage should be increased
    2. 33% of people think mothers of pre-school age children should stay at home
    3. 39% think new mothers should take most of the paid leave and the fathers should take some.  30% think the leave should be evenly split between parents.
    4. 72% of people disagree with the view that it is a man’s job to earn money and a woman’s job to look after home and family, up from 58% in 2008
    5. 70% of people think the state should top wages of low earning working single parents, and 58% think the state should do the same for low earning working couples with children.
    6. Support for increasing unemployment benefits is at a 15 year high
  4. The National Living Wage is the legal minimum for those aged 25 and over and is £7.83 an hour. Workers under the age of 25 are not entitled to this wage.
  5. Young Women’s Trust today released a new report last week, ‘Paid Less, Worth Less?’, making the case for extending the National Living Wage to under-25s.
  6. The minimum wage for 21-24 year-olds is £7.38 an hour. For 18-20 year-olds it is £5.90 an hour. Based on a 35 hour working week, this amounts to a loss of £819 and £3,512.60 a year respectively because young people are entitled to lower wages (see table).
  7. 16-17 year-olds are legally entitled to £4.20 an hour and apprentices to £3.70, which is £4 an hour less than the National Living Wage.


Hourly minimum wage

Daily minimum wage (seven hour day)

Weekly minimum wage (35 hour week)

Monthly minimum wage (annual wage divided by 12)

Annual minimum wage (52 weeks of working 35 hours)

How much they miss out on each year by not earning the National Living Wage




































  1. The Office for National Statistics’ ‘Distribution of low paid jobs by 10p bands’ data (October 2017) shows that 1.07 million people under the age of 25 are paid less than the National Living Wage. 558,000 of these are women.
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned ComRes to interview 500 current or recent apprentices in Great Britain online between 26th July and 11th August 2017. Data were weighted by age and gender. The survey found that 43 per cent, or two in five, said the costs associated with doing an apprenticeship such as travel to work, buying clothing or paying for childcare, were higher than their earnings as an apprentice.
  3. Holly Lynch MP sponsored a Private Member’s Bill to extend the National Living Wage to workers aged 18 and above. The Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 19 July 2017 and is due to have its second reading on Friday 6 July 2018.
  4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds in England and Wales, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed between 4 and 14 July 2017. The survey found that, out of a range of options, the two most popular policies were raising the apprentice minimum wage (supported by 83 per cent) and introducing equal pay for equal work by extending the National Living Wage to under-25s (supported by 79 per cent). This compares to the 59 per cent that supported abolishing university tuition fees.
  5. Young Women’s Trust has launched a digital campaign and a petition calling on the Government to extend the National Living Wage to under-25s. More information on how to get involved can be found at
  6. For more information or to speak to a case study, please contact Bex Bailey on or 07963018281.