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

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23 February 2015

In some parts of Britain half the jobs are paying less than the living wage, the TUC reveals today (Monday) at the start of the second week of the TUC’s Fair Pay Fortnight.

TUC analysis of official figures from the House of Commons Library shows that nationally one in five jobs pays under the living wage – currently set at £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of Britain. But in some parliamentary constituencies more than half of the people working there earn less than this.

Across Great Britain, more than five million people get paid less than the living wage. Birmingham Northfield tops the list of living wage blackspots with 53.4 per cent of people working there earning less than £7.85 an hour, followed by Kingswood near Bristol (51 per cent) and Dwyfor Meirionnydd in north Wales (50.9 per cent).

In other parts of Britain a substantial number of workers also get paid less than the living wage – in Harrow West in north west London (48.9 per cent), Chingford and Woodford Green in north east London (48.3 per cent), East Yorkshire (42.4 per cent), Blackpool South (42.1 per cent), South East Cornwall (40.2 per cent), Heywood and Middleton in Greater Manchester (39.8 per cent) and Rhondda in south Wales (38.9 per cent).

For working women the picture is even bleaker. Well over half of women working in Birmingham Northfield (63.1 per cent), Kingswood (59.6 per cent) and East Yorkshire (58.7 per cent) take home less than the living wage. And over half of women working in Heywood and Middleton (53.9 per cent), Dwyfor Meirionnydd (53.1 per cent) and Blackpool South (50.7 per cent) earn less than £7.85 an hour.

In some parts of the country – mostly in the South East – there are high paying areas where workers fare much better. In Poplar and Limehouse in East London just 7.5 per cent of people working there earn less than the living wage, followed by Edinburgh South West (7.9 per cent), Guildford (8.4 per cent), South Cambridgeshire (8.5 per cent) and Runnymede and Weybridge in Surrey (8.9 per cent).

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

“Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times, and these living wage figures show that women are disproportionately affected. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom, and the government’s mantra about ‘making work pay’ is completely out of touch with reality.

“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 we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage from government, employers and modern wages councils – to drive up productivity and set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Top 10 GB living wage blackspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Per cent employees paid below living wage

1

Birmingham Northfield

53.4%

2

Kingswood

51.0%

3

Dwyfor Meirionnydd

50.9%

4

Harrow West

48.9%

5

Chingford and Woodford Green

48.3%

6

East Yorkshire

42.4%

7

Blackpool South

42.1%

8

South East Cornwall

40.2%

9

Heywood and Middleton

39.8%

10

Rhondda

38.9%

Top 10 GB living wage brightspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Per cent employees paid below living wage

1

Poplar and Limehouse

7.5%

2

Edinburgh South West

7.9%

3

Guildford

8.4%

4

South Cambridgeshire

8.5%

5

Runnymede and Weybridge

8.9%

6

Crawley

10.2%

7

Bermondsey and Old Southwark

10.1%

8

Cities of London and Westminster

10.4%

9

Holborn and St Pancras

10.9%

10

Bracknell

11.0%

11

Oxford East

11.0%

Top 10 GB living wage blackspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Per cent employees paid below living wage

1

Birmingham Northfield

63.1%

2

Kingswood

59.6%

3

East Yorkshire

58.7%

4

Enfield Southgate

56.6%

5

Heywood and Middleton

53.9%

6

Dwyfor Meirionnydd

53.1%

7

Blackpool South

50.7%

8

Harrow West

49.9%

9

Forest of Dean

49.7%

10

Leigh

49.1%

Top 10 GB living wage brightspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Per cent employees paid below living wage

1

Poplar and Limehouse

10.1%

2

Guildford

10.5%

3

Runnymede and Weybridge

10.7%

4

Holborn and St Pancras

11.1%

5

Bermondsey and Old Southwark

11.8%

6

Dundee West

12.0%

7

Oxford East

12.2%

8

Cities of London and Westminster

12.3%

9

Islington South and Finsbury

12.6%

10

Cardiff North

12.9%

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 through the Office for National Statistics/House of Commons: Percentage of employee jobs with hourly pay excluding overtime below the living wage by region and parliamentary constituency (place of work), UK, April 2013 and 2014

- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight 2015 between Monday 16 February and Sunday 1 March. The Fortnight is part of the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign and will feature a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about low pay, pay inequality and the need for higher pay settlements in the public and private sector. For more information please visit www.fairpayfortnight.org

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:

Clare Santry  T: 020 7467 1372  M: 07717 531150  E: [email protected]
Alex Rossiter  T: 020 7467 1285  M: 07887 572130  E: [email protected]
Tim Nichols  T: 020 7467 1337  M: 07876 452902  E: [email protected]
 

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