Issue date
23 Feb 2015

date: 20 February 2015
embargo: 00.01hrs Monday 23 February 2015


Over half of jobs in parts of the West Midlands pay less than the living wage

In some parts of the West Midlands more than half of 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. Across the country, more than five million people get paid less than the living wage.

Birmingham Northfield not only tops the list of living wage blackspots in the West Midlands, but it also tops the national list – with 53.4 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage. This is followed by West Bromwich East (36.9 per cent), Stoke-on-Trent North (36.6 per cent), Birmingham Yardley (35.6 per cent) and Staffordshire Moorlands (34.4 per cent).

For working women the picture is even bleaker. In Birmingham Northfield a staggering 63.1 per cent of jobs pay less than the living wage, followed by Staffordshire Moorlands (45.5 per cent), Birmingham Yardley (45 per cent), North Herefordshire (44.2 per cent) and Wolverhampton South West (43.8 per cent).

In some parts of the West Midlands there are higher paying areas where workers fare much better. Just 13.1 per cent of jobs in Birmingham Edgbaston pay less than the living wage, followed by Wolverhampton North East (15 per cent) and Kenilworth and Southam (15.1 per cent).

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron said: “Extending the living wage is a vital step towards tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty in parts of the West Midlands – and Britain as a whole.

“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 five West Midlands living wage blackspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency Percentage of employees paid less than the living wage
1 Birmingham Northfield 53.4%
2 West Bromwich East 36.9%
3 Stoke-on-Trent North 36.6%
4 Birmingham Yardley 35.6%
5 Staffordshire Moorlands 34.4%

Top five West Midlands living wage brightspots (men and women)
 Parliamentary constituency Percentage of employees paid less than the living wage
1 Birmingham Edgbaston 13.1%
2 Wolverhampton North East 15.0%
3 Kenilworth and Southam 15.1%
4 Coventry South 15.7%
5 Stoke-on-Trent Central 15.8%

Top five West Midlands living wage blackspots (women)
 Parliamentary constituency Percentage of women paid less than the living wage
1 Birmingham Northfield 63.1%
2 Staffordshire Moorlands 45.5%
3 Birmingham Yardley 45.0%
4 North Herefordshire 44.2%
5 Wolverhampton South West 43.8%

Top five West Midlands living wage brightspots (women)
 Parliamentary constituency Percentage of women paid less than the living wage
1 Birmingham Edgbaston 15.6%
2 Coventry North East 16.4%
3 Birmingham Ladywood 17.9%
4 Stoke-on-Trent Central 18.5%
5 Dudley North 19.5%


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:
Rob Johnston T: 0121 236 4454  M: 07879 497291  E: [email protected]
Lee Barron T: 0121 236 4454 M: 07919 102472 E: [email protected]