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Lord Bird, the founder of The Big Issue, has been forced to apologise after the magazine advertised for an unpaid intern.

It advertised for a research assistant to work for Lord Bird in his parliamentary office. The job description said the Lord needed somebody to help ‘dismantle poverty’, and they would be paid only expenses for food and travel.

Lord Bird has apologised over the advert and said the pay for the job would now be above the living wage.

The position was advertised earlier this month and stated: ‘The successful candidate will be eager to support Lord Bird’s work in dismantling poverty, possess some knowledge of the legislative process and have the ability to work both proactively and independently as part of a committed team in a fast-paced, evolving environment.’

Unpaid internships have been widely criticised for exploiting young people looking to gain experience and favouring the children of rich parents who can support them while they work for free.

The Big Issue was launched in 1991 by Gordon Roddick and Lord Bird to help the growing number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London. The two believed that the key to solving the problem of homelessness lay in helping people to help themselves. Vendors buy their magazines with their own money and sell them at their own profit or loss.


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