Ministers signal a possible end to unpaid internships

Ministers are understood to be considering legislation which would ban companies from offering unpaid internships.

Work and Pensions Minister Damian Hinds conceded there were concerns about the impact that the placements were having in certain “sought-after” industries.

The internships have often been trailed as an ideal opportunity for young people to get experience which may lead to a salaried position, but critics have said that a relatively small group of people can afford to work for free.

“In the media, in fashion, in these very sought-after occupations, these unpaid internships aren’t actually accessible to everybody,” said Mr Hinds.

“It’s important for social mobility that everybody has a crack at getting into the particularly competitive industries.”

Several large companies, including KMPG and Pimlico Plumbers have started to offer paid internships, but a growing number of MPs have called for legislation which ensures that everyone on a placement is paid at least the minimum wage.

Such a move was previously rejected by former Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he was “relaxed” about current arrangements and had completed a number of placements himself when he was younger.

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