| News

A £1,200 bonus will go to up to 3.5 million people who join a new savings unveiled by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday. The new scheme will be part of a package to help some of Britain’s poorest people along with a record rise in the minimum wage for younger workers and a £14 million mentoring project for struggling teenagers. The package comes ahead of George Osborne’s Budget on Wednesday and is aimed at ending poverty in the UK and bringing down Britain’s massive welfare bill. It follows the announcement by Mr Cameron in January of an “all-out assault on poverty”. The new Help to Save scheme means anyone in work who receives universal credit or working tax credits will be able to save up to £50 a month and receive a 50 per cent bonus after two years - worth up to £600. Account holders can then choose to continue saving under the scheme for a further two years and receive another £600 bonus. This will see them earn a savings pot worth up to £3,600 after the full four years of the scheme – with £1,200 coming from the Government. Once established 25,000 young people a year who are at risk of under-achieving or dropping out from education will receive extra support from high-flying professionals. Mr Cameron said: “I’ve made it the mission of this government to transform life chances across the country. “That means giving hard-working people the extra support they need to fulfil their potential. “And that’s what these new measures will achieve – helping someone start a savings fund to get them through difficult times, giving people on low incomes a pay rise and making sure teenagers have the experience and networks to succeed.” Mr Cameron will also announce that the government will provide £12 million over the course of this Parliament for a new investment fund to build capacity in the system. The fund will be managed by The Careers & Enterprise Company which will also be backed by a £2 million advertising campaign. The company will work to encourage business people and professionals to volunteer to act as mentors to provide crucial support and guidance to help young people fulfil their potential. The government has already announced plans for a National Living Wage of £7.20 for workers over 25 which will be introduced from April – equivalent to a pay rise of at least £900 a year. Today the Prime Minister announced that 21-to 24-year-olds on the minimum wage would also see a pay rise worth an average of £450 per year: The National Minimum Wage for 21- to 24-year-olds will rise by 3.7 per cent to £6.95 an hour, while 18- to 20-year-olds will see their minimum wage rise by 4.7 per cent to £5.55 an hour for the minimum wage for 16- to 17-year-olds will rise by 3.4 per cent to £4 an hour; and apprentices will see their wage rise by 3 per cent to £3.40 an hour.