More than 5,000,000 Brits are still being paid less than the 'poverty wage'
The number of workers paid ‘poverty wages’ has fallen to a seven year low, new stats suggest.
Research by KPMG found that around a fifth of UK jobs pay below the voluntary ‘real’ living wage of £9-an-hour, down from 22% in 2018.
That amounts to a fall of 560,000 workers, meaning there is still an estimated 5.19 million people paid less than the voluntary figure.
KPMG suggest the number peaked at 5.75 million last year.
A growing number of firms have been signing up to pay the rate, which is weighted to £10.55 in London, and different to the compulsory national living wage, of £8.21 an hour for over 25s.
The study indicated that around 38% of part-time jobs pay less than the real living wage, compared to only 12% for full-time employees.
It also noted that around one in four women earn less than the real living wage, compared with 15% of men.
KPMG’s James Stewart said the Brexit impasse had less employers to take action to motivate their workforce.
He explained: ‘Over the coming period of uncertainty productivity will be key and we know that the real living wage is an effective driver. What’s good for our workers is good for business too and there is a real opportunity for many to look at the remuneration of their staff in terms of overall benefit to their business as well as the bottom-line.’
Mr Stewart added: ‘We must ensure that part-time workers are not left behind – as these figures show well over a third are not benefiting from the real living wage.
‘There are also far too many women who are not benefiting from these changes and over the coming year we must address this and the regional disparities which still exist.’
A report in August suggested pay for middle income workers’ pay has fallen in real terms by 1% since 2010, while the lowest earners have seen a 5% rise due to the national living wage increase.
But in-work poverty has been slammed as the ‘problem of our times’, with some 4 million thought to be caught in a low pay trap, according to figures released in May.
But Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: ‘We know the campaign for a real living wage has had a huge impact in tackling in-work poverty.
‘Over the last year we’ve seen more and more responsible organisations recognise that a real living wage is not only good for workers and their families, but it also makes good business sense.’
The government said in September that it would raise the national living wage to £10.50 by 2024.
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