In parts of Britain nearly half of jobs pay less than the living wage

Share this page

date: 28 March 2014

embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 1 April 2014

In parts of Britain nearly half of jobs pay less than the living wage

In some parts of Britain nearly half the jobs are paying less than the living wage, the TUC reveals today (Tuesday) to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the minimum wage and the second week of the TUC’s Fair Pay Fortnight which runs until Sunday (6 April).

TUC analysis of official figures from the House of Commons Library shows that nationally on average one in five jobs pays under the living wage – currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK – but in some parliamentary constituencies nearly half of the people working there earn less than this.

Across the UK, around five million people get paid less than the living wage. Kingswood near Bristol tops the list of living wage black spots with 48 per cent of people working there earning less than £7.65 an hour, followed by Chingford and Woodford Green in North East London (43.4 per cent of jobs there pay less than the living wage), Harrow West in North West London (42.4 per cent) and Sefton Central on Merseyside (40.4 per cent).

In other parts of Britain a substantial number of workers also get paid less than the living wage. Nearly two in five people working in Dwyfor Meirionnydd in North Wales (39.9 per cent), Rhondda in South Wales (39.7 per cent), Blackpool South (39.3 per cent), West Lancashire (38.2 per cent), Bexleyheath and Crayford in South East London (38.2 per cent) and Wells in Somerset (38.1) receive less than £7.65 an hour.

For working women the picture is even more bleak. More than half of women working in two constituencies – Kingswood (56.1 per cent) and Bexleyheath and Crayford (51.3) per cent – take home less than the living wage. And around half the women working in Heywood and Middleton in the North West (49.7 per cent), East Yorkshire (48.6 per cent) and Cleethorpes (48.4 per cent) earn less than £7.65 an hour.

At the other end of the income scale, in some parts of the country – mostly in the South East – as few as five per cent of workers are paid under the living wage. Just 5.6 per cent of people working in Poplar and Limehouse (East London), 5.8 per cent in Runnymede and Weybridge (Surrey), 7.3 per cent in South Cambridgeshire and also 7.3 per cent in Islington South and Finsbury (North London) earn less than the living wage.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain.

“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it’s costing our economy dear.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it – but government must show equal initiative. We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.

“During Fair Pay Fortnight we’re asking workers to back our call to MPs to get all political parties to put decent pay at the top of their agendas in the run up to the election.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Top 10 GB living wage blackspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Region

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

Kingswood

South West

48.0

2

Chingfood and Woodford Green

London

43.4

3

Harrow West

London

42.4

4

Sefton Central

North West

40.4

5

Dwyfor Meirionnydd

Wales

39.9

6

Rhondda

Wales

39.7

7

Blackpool South

North West

39.3

8

West Lancashire

North West

38.2

9

Bexleyheath and Crayford

London

38.2

10

Wells

South West

38.1

Top 10 GB living wage brightspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Region

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

Poplar and Limehouse

London

5.6

2

Runneymede and Weybridge

South East

5.8

3

South Cambridgeshire

East of England

7.3

4

Islington South and Finsbury

London

7.5

5

Edinburgh South West

Scotland

8.6

6

Holborn and St Pancras

London

9.2

7

Guildford

South East

9.2

8

Oxford East

West Midlands

9.3

9

Mole Valley

South East

9.6

10

Blackley and Broughton

North West

9.8

Top 10 GB living wage blackspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Region

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

Kingswood

South West

56.1

2

Bexleyheath and Crayford

London

51.3

3

Heywood and Middleton

North West

49.7

4

East Yorkshire

Yorks and the Humber

48.6

5

Cleethorpes

Yorks and the Humber

48.4

6

Hartlepool

North East

48.2

7

St Ives

South West

47.7

8

Harrow West

London

47.6

9

Dwyfor Meirionnydd

Wales

46.8

10

Mid Derbyshire

East Midlands

46.5

Top 10 GB living wage brightspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Region

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

Poplar and Limehouse

London

7.0

2

Islington South and Finsbury

London

7.2

3

Oxford East

West Midlands

10.0

4

Edinburgh East

Scotland

10.5

5

Holborn and St Pancras

London

11.0

6

Guildford

South East

11.4

7

Bermondsey and Old Southwark

London

12.1

8

Milton Keynes South

East of England

12.3

9

Stoke-on-Trent

East Midlands

12.4

10

Watford

East of England

12.7

House of Commons Library figures, based on data from the Office for National Statistics

- The full analysis of who is paid under the living wage by constituency and local authority is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/House%20of%20Commons%20LW%20data.xlsx

- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April. It will be a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about falling living standards. www.fairpayfortnight.org

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen   T: 020 7467 1248    M: 07778 158175    E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth    T: 020 7467 1372    M: 07717 531150     E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson   T: 020 7467 1337    M: 07900 910624     E: [email protected]

Press Release
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Share this Page