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A question of money for our working young people . . .

Previously we have looked at relevant issues for pensioners, so this week we are looking at the other end of the age spectrum and concentrating on issues that affect the young.

Many people think that you only are only liable to start paying tax when you reach a certain age. However, every single person, regardless of their age, is a potential tax payer and has their own personal tax free allowance (£10,600 for the current 2015/16 tax year).

National insurance is different as this only becomes an issue once you reach 16 years of age and if you are an employee earning above £155 per week, or self-employed and making a profit of £5,965 or more a year.

You will be sent a national insurance number automatically just before your 16th birthday if you live in the UK.

If, for whatever reason, you didn’t receive one you need to call the national insurance helpline if you are under 20. If you are over 20 you need to call Jobcentre Plus.

Another fundamental issue for young people starting out in work is the minimum wage.

The rates are usually updated each October and the current hourly rates are:

- 21 and over £6.70

- 18-20 £5.30

- Under 18 £3.87

- Apprentice £3.30

The £3.30 rate for apprentices applies to age 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.

All other apprentices are entitled to the age-related minimum wage. The national living wages starts in April 2016 and will be £7.20, but only applies to workers aged 25 and above.

The minimum wage will continue to apply for those aged 24 and under.

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular as they combine practical training in a job with study and they take one to four years to complete.

You can apply while you are still at school but to start one you will need to be 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education.

Further details on the application process are available at www.gov.uk/ apply-apprenticeship and the National Careers Service also offers further advice.

If you are just looking for an opportunity you might like to consider work experience. It may well not be paid but might lead to other opportunities.

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