Issue date
01 Apr 2014

date: 28 March 2014

embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 1 April 2014

In parts of East of England a third of jobs pay less than living wage

In some parts of the East of England a third of jobs (35 per cent) 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 many more people working there earn less than this.

Across the UK, around five million people get paid less than the living wage. Castle Point tops the list of living wage black spots in the East of England, with 35.2 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage. This is followed by North Norfolk (32.8 per cent), Mid Norfolk (32.3 per cent), Clacton (31.5 per cent) and West Suffolk (29.8 per cent).

For working women the picture is even more bleak. More than two in five working in three constituencies – North Norfolk (42 per cent), Clacton (41.1 per cent) and Mid Norfolk (40.6 per cent) – take home less than the living wage. And in South Suffolk (39.7 per cent) and West Suffolk (38.3 per cent) women don’t fare much better.

At the other end of the income scale, in some parts of the East of England workers fare much better. Just 7.3 per cent of jobs in South Cambridgeshire pay less than the living wage, followed by South East Cambridgeshire (11.1 per cent), Watford (11.6 per cent), Bedford (11.9 per cent) and Huntingdon (12.5 per cent).

Southern and Eastern Region TUC Regional Secretary Megan Dobney said: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across the East of England – and Britain as a whole.

“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 five East of England living wage blackspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

Castle Point

35.2

2

North Norfolk

32.8

3

Mid Norfolk

32.3

4

Clacton

31.5

5

West Suffolk

29.8

Top five East of England living wage brightspots (men and women)

Parliamentary constituency

Percentage of people working there paid less than the living wage

1

South Cambridgeshire

7.3

2

South East Cambridgeshire

11.1

3

Watford

11.6

4

Bedford

11.9

5

Huntingdon

12.5

Top five East of England living wage blackspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Percentage of women working there paid less than the living wage

1

North Norfolk

42.0

2

Clacton

41.1

3

Mid Norfolk

40.6

4

South Suffolk

39.7

5

West Suffolk

38.3

Top five East of England living wage brightspots (women)

Parliamentary constituency

Percentage of women working there paid less than the living wage

1

Watford

12.7

2

Cambridge

13.7

3

Huntingdon

14.4

4

Bedford

15.8

5

South East Cambridgeshire

18.4

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:
Laurie Heselden    T: 020 7467 1292    M:  07818 002877    E: lheselden@tuc.org.uk