Labour’s Miliband: I’ll ban unpaid internships in the UK

By Robert Hutton

(Bloomberg) — U.K. opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband will promise to ban unpaid internships, which he’ll say shut off careers to people without wealthy parents.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband participates in the televised leaders' debate in London, April 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband participates in the televised leaders’ debate in London, April 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

Speaking at a rally in Lincoln, eastern England, on Friday, he’ll promise to change the law so that anyone on an internship is entitled to the minimum wage after four weeks. It won’t affect training placements or charity volunteering.

“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,” Miliband will say, according to his office. “It’s a system that’s rigged in favor 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.”

With polls neck-and-neck in the race for the May 7 general election, Miliband is reaching out to young voters with a series of policies. He’s also proposing a series of measures to help tenants, something aimed at the increasing number of young people unable to afford to buy a home.

For the Conservatives, Prime Minister David Cameron will commit his party to continuing its present exemption of employers from the first 2,000 pounds ($3,000) of payroll taxes they owe.

Cameron’s current coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, released a letter signed by 55 businessmen and women leaders that the U.K. and its economy would benefit by having the party continue its involvement in government after the election. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has made a pitch for a second term with either the Tories or Labour the centerpiece of his election strategy.

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