New analysis finds that over 5 million people are earning less than Living Wage

No areas in northern England make the TUC's list of top ten places for fair pay


New analysis by the TUC reveals today that in some parts of the UK, less than half of jobs pay workers the Living Wage.

Nationally, one in five jobs pays under the Living Wage, but the TUC finds that some parliamentary constituencies are ‘Living Wage blackspots’ where much higher percentages of people are not taking home enough to cover the basic costs of living.

Birmingham Northfield is named as the worst place in the country for pay, with 53.4 per cent of people in work 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).

The number is also disproportionately high in certain areas of London – for example in Harrow West 48.9 per cent of workers take home less than the Living Wage, and 48.3 per cent in Chingford and Woodford Green.

The figures are even worse for working women. 63.1 per cent of women in Birmingham Northfield and 59.6 per cent of women in Kingswood are paid under the Living Wage.  In East Yorkshire that’s 58.7 per cent of women compared to 42.4 per cent of the working population as a whole.

The TUC analysis also reveals high paying ‘bright spots’ where a low percentage of people are earning below the Living Wage, and these are mainly constituencies in the South East.

In Poplar and Limehouse in East London just 7.5 per cent of working people 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). There are no constituencies in the North of England in the list of the top ten ‘bright spots’.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“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.”

The findings come as the TUC enter the second half of Fair Pay Fortnight, a series of events aimed at raising awareness of low pay and pay inequality.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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12 Responses to “New analysis finds that over 5 million people are earning less than Living Wage”

  1. Faerieson

    If true- the Tories will want to spin this- these figures are truly shocking. An alarming pointer to just how divided a society we are becoming. ‘Shocking’ and ‘alarming,’ but not so much ‘surprising.’ The Coalition are hinting at pursuing policies that will drive an even greater wedge between the most affluent and the rest.
    What did we honestly expect from a bunch of inheritance millionaires? £5,000 a day for the likes of Jack Straw, God only knows how much for ‘no salary’ Rifkind, and a non-living salary for as many others as we can keep under the thumb!
    Democracy at its aspirational best!

  2. Norfolk29

    An apology is not enough. The CofE need to publish a schedule of when all posts will get the Living Wage.

  3. David Davies

    The long term economic plan is working!

  4. Faerieson

    For you maybe…
    Good sense of community!

  5. robertcp

    They are shocking figures and show that workers need trade unions.

  6. Mike Stallard

    Ruby, I am sure your research is completely impeccable and I will not argue on the balance between North and South East because I am sure that among the white population, you have a point.
    What depresses me a lot is the fact that you are obviously not taking immigrants into account. The Poles, who got the full wage, are long gone. The Baltic people – Lithuanians mainly, round Wisbech (where I live in the South East) – are now being replaced with Southern Europeans – Bulgars and Romanians who work for £3 to £4 an hour (after deductions). In far away Peterborough (also South East), I wonder what Muslim women who work are paid. I also wonder what the Muslim men get too – if indeed they can find work.
    Where are the TU? Well, if you join a Union, you don’t get into an Agency and firms will not hire unless you are not Unionised. But – hey – who runs the TU – white Brits! We need to do something about this.

  7. Guest

    Yea, you need to smash the Unions to make sure “Brits” (or rather, White Christian Males, since you clearly have it on for everyone else) can’t get the same sort of wages. The closed shop’s long gone, of course, in reality.

    Or do you have documentary evidence of each of the companies you’ve caught and reported for not paying the living wage…

  8. Faerieson

    Not really sure what your point is. Surely the concept of a living wage is that every working person is afforded ‘something’ in terms of a dignified existence. This should be the case, regardless of Trade Union affiliation (or not). Historically the Trade Unions have done an immense amount of good, for working people. Even if some of those ‘operating’ at the top have been ‘arguably’ questionable, in their behaviour, the concept of functioning Trade Unions has to be a good thing. Individual wage barganing will always be able to cite a few beneficiaries; this is the ‘divide and rule’ method, currently favoured by those forcing wages ever lower.
    It appears, to me, that the current ‘living wage’ is anyway far too low, that is woefully implemented, and that entirely the wrong people are at the ‘living wage’ helm.

  9. Mike Stallard

    Leon, I will dignify you with a reply.
    The books, I am sure, are all in order. Basic wages are legally enforced. But food, clothing, boots, transport and, sometimes, lodgings are deducted. Passports are, of course, often taken by the gang master/agency. And since nobody speaks the language, the Police do nothing. The Unions do not speak the language either.
    I want to say that we had a couple of really good Union men who visited us regularly at the immigrants’ centre. They were also furnished with translators too. No more. Where are they now?

  10. littleoddsandpieces

    In a comment section I came across much worse than this.

    It is both the biggest tax avoidance and the worst for workers.

    The Truck System has returned and is now called the salary sacrifice scheme.

    People can be called an apprentice unknown to them and get not even two pounds an hour.
    Otherwise the worker is pushed well below the minimum wage by being paid part in money and party in expenses (latter with deductions for admin costs!)

    The firm avoids paying National Insurance contributions and PAYE for each such worker.

    A tax barrister says this means billions of lost tax to the government that could fund the NHS.

    But for the low paid worker it means much worse.

    They are out of the welfare state and will never get a state pension, as far below the
    lower entitlement level so do not get automatic National Insurance credits, let alone them and their boss paying any NI contributions.

    The flat rate pension grants nil state pension for citizens with less than 10 years NI record history, whereas now someone gets some state pension from 1 year NI record (so get a NI number).

    So some workers may indeed be facing nil state pension for life for retirement age from next year,
    that is their sole pension provision in life as were too low waged to get a private pension or to be in a works pension.

    The state pension is payable if remain in work or can retire as have other income.

    Half of the over 50s / over 60s are within the working poor, but this affects any age of the 5.5 million low waged inside a salary sacrifice system that pushes them below the LEL for automatic NI credits.

  11. Guest

    I’m sure you want Truc back, as you talk nonsense about existing law..

  12. Guest

    Lord Blagger, you are undignified.

    Of course your books will be in “order”, as you fail to record illegal deductions and take passports and pay off the police.

    Why shouldn’t I believe it’s you or your buddies? Because you won’t report them, after all.

    And maybe you shouldn’t have run them off, right.

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