LABOUR will today commit itself to ending “the scandal of unpaid internships which only the richest can afford”.
Ed Miliband will use a speech in Lincoln to unveil Labour’s manifesto for young people with a promise to ensure companies pay long term interns.
The Labour leader will say unpaid internships are increasingly making some of the most sought-after jobs out of reach for many young people who cannot afford to work for nothing during long internships.
The move stops short of making companies pay teenagers on work experience, but would make it illegal to take on an intern for more than four weeks without payment.
Labour timed the pledge to coincide with new YouGov polling data released by Intern Aware showing that 62 per cent of businesses say the intern payment law would make no difference to the number of interns they recruit,and 10 per cent saying it would hit their intern recruitment.
Mr Miliband will say: “In this country, if you want a good job in a highly prized sector, you’re often asked to work for free, often for months on end, sometimes even a year.
“It’s a system that’s rigged in favour of those who can afford it.
“Putting careers in highly prized jobs – in the arts, media, fashion, finance and law – out of reach for huge numbers of highly able young people.
“It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it prevents our companies drawing on all the talents our nation has to offer.
“So we’ll put a stop to it. We’ll end the scandal of unpaid internships.
“So today I can announce, with a Labour government if you do work experience for more than four weeks, you’ll get at least the minimum wage, opening up the professions and extending opportunity for all.”