15 October 2015
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has revealed that 23 percent of jobs outside London paid less than the living wage (£7.55) in 2014. This is a 2 percent increase from 2012.
The living wage is £9.15 an hour in London, and £7.85 an hour outside London.
The rate is set by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
Some sectors have a much worse record than others, with 70 percent of jobs in accommodation and food services paying less than the living wage. Young adults are the demographic most likely to suffer – 58 percent of jobs worked by 18 to 24-year-olds outside of London and 48 percent of jobs in this age group in London were paid less than the living wage.
Northern Ireland had the highest rate of jobs paying less than the living wage – 29 percent, compared to 19 percent in Scotland, and London and the South East. Locally, west Somerset had a shocking 41.9 percent of jobs paying less than the living wage.
A spokesman for the Living Wage Foundation said: “Despite significant progress in many sectors, more jobs than ever are below the voluntary living wage rates that we recommend.
“These figures demonstrate that while the economy may be recovering as a whole, there is a real problem with ensuring everyone benefits, and low pay in still prevalent in Britain today.”
An independent study found that more than 80 percent of employers in London believe that paying the minimum wage had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff, while absenteeism had fallen by around 25 percent.
However, this evidence is being ignored by employers hell bent on maximising short term profits at the expense of their employees’ welfare.
Lidl recently attracted attention for becoming the first supermarket to pay the living wage nationwide. Rhys Moore, Director, Living Wage Foundation said:
“We are delighted by the move from Lidl to increase the pay of their staff to rates above the current UK and London voluntary Living Wage rates, and significantly higher than the national minimum wages. They have also committed to matching the new Living Wage rates announced by the Living Wage Foundation in November. Their announcement is a massive breakthrough in the Living Wage campaign, and proves that paying staff a real Living Wage, calculated around the cost of living, is possible on the British high-street. It sets a challenge to the rest of the UK supermarket sector, that has until now claimed that paying staff the Living Wage was just not possible. Consumers can now genuinely make a Living Wage choice at the checkout. We look forward to working with Lidl towards accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation, and together championing fair pay in the retail sector”.