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Protestors urge Rishi Sunak to ‘Increase minimum wage to £12-an-hour’

Campaigning group Youth Fight for Jobs descended on the city to express their concern at rising youth unemployment, which they say will only get worse now the furlough scheme has come to an end. It comes after Government statistics show that young people have been some of the worst hit by the economic downturn.

In what was a peaceful protest, young activists made their voices heard when they took to the streets of Leeds and called on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to invest in their future to prevent them from becoming the economic victims of the pandemic.

Campaigner Alex Hutchinson told ITV news that they want MPs to put a stop to “bogus self-employment and zero hour contracts”.

He added that they were also pushing for “an immediate increase of minimum wage to £12-an-hour which would lift millions of workers out of poverty, or on the brink of poverty”.

And as well as better job prospects, campaigners said they also want free education and for the government to write off all student debt.

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Earlier this week, the Government hinted that a raise for British workers could be on the cards.

Rumours have been circulating that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce that the National Living Wage will rise from £8.91 to £9.42 per hour over the next few weeks.

It would see the National Living Wage increase to £9.42 from its current rate of £8.91 for people aged over 23.

Speaking to Sky News, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “You should wait and see what Rishi does, we will do everything we can to look after people in the months ahead.”

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party did announce it would be extending the Kickstart Scheme until March next year at its conference in Manchester.

The scheme helps young people under the age of 24, who are claiming Universal Credit, find work and improve their skills.

Businesses are encouraged to take part with a Government grant that pays up to £1,500 per young employee.

However, student James Leech, who had a Kickstart job, said the scheme does not work. “You’ve got no promise of a job, so it’s a plaster fix to an enormous problem that’s going to stall the economy.”

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