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The annual living wage research report by KPMG, published today (Monday), estimates that well over a quarter of a million workers receive less than the living wage in the North East region, which is one in every four workers.

Commenting on the report, Northern TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat said:

“People deserve a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work. But low pay is blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in the North East. And it’s adding to the deficit because it means more spent on tax credits and less collected in tax.

“We have the wrong kind of recovery with the wrong kind of jobs – we need to create far more living wage jobs, with decent hours and permanent contracts.

“The fact is there are employers out there in our region who can afford to pay living wages, but aren’t. It is now time for all responsible employers to commit to adopting this standard, which enables workers to earn just enough to be able to live a decent life.”

As part of Living Wage Week, the Northern TUC is holding a Northern Living Wage Summit on Thursday 6th November at the Centre for Life to highlight the wide-reaching implications of low pay. Attendees at the Summit will be from a broad range of organisations, including Local Authorities, trade unions, voluntary and community agencies, such as the Child Poverty Commission and employers.

Keynote speakers include Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North and Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce and Sarah Vero from the Living Wage Foundation, as well as Reverend Simon Mason and Matt Stripe, HR Director for Nestle who are a committed Living Wage employer.

Catherine McKinnell MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North said:

“People in the North East are really struggling with the cost of living crisis and with around 1 in 4 workers in our region paid less than the living wage, more must be done to tackle the problem of low pay. Finding ways to support and encourage employers to pay the Living Wage is a major part of that.

“It is fantastic to see more businesses and Labour-run councils in our region seeing the benefits of adopting the Living Wage, but it is important that we continue to demonstrate the value, both to employers but also to our region as a whole.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

KPMG estimates of employees earning less than the living wage in 2014 for UK regions

UK region

Number of workers below living wage (thousands)

Percentage of workers below living wage

Northern Ireland

181

27

North East

239

25

Yorkshire and the Humber

481

25

East Midlands

414

24

Wales

261

24

North West

611

24

West Midlands

494

24

South West

472

23

East

482

21

Scotland

414

19

South East

594

18

London

634

17

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Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Beth Farhat  T: 0191 232 3175 M: 07747636408   E: bfarhat@tuc.org.uk
Neil Foster  M: 07786717972 E: nfoster@tuc.org.uk