More than a quarter of North Herts workers earn less than Real Living Wage
PUBLISHED: 07:02 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:40 31 May 2019
More than a quarter of workers in North Hertfordshire earn below the Real Living Wage, ONS figures show.
Charities and trade unions have warned of a "rising tide of in-work poverty" across the country, with millions of workers struggling to make ends meet.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal 25.7 per cent of jobs in North Herts earn less than the real living wage - around 13,000 workers in total.
They are among a pool of more than 6 million others across Great Britain "struggling to make ends meet" because their wages are less than they need to cover the basics, according to Frances O'Grady of the Trades Union Congress.
The Real Living Wage, which was £8.75 per hour when the data was compiled but has since been revised to £9, is set by the Living Wage Foundation.
It is higher than the living wage introduced by the government in 2016, which is the legal minimum employers can pay workers aged 25 and over, and instead calculates the minimum amount a person needs to earn to meet their everyday living costs.
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The Living Wage Foundation argues that businesses paying the living wage benefit from more productive and motivated workers.
"If we want to build a modern, dynamic economy, we need to see more businesses step up and join the over 5,000 Living Wage employers committed to pay a fair day's pay for a hard day's work," said director Katherine Chapman.
The figures reveal stark variations across the country, with the proportion of workers earning below the living wage ranging from a low of 6.3 per cent in the City of London, to a high of 48.7% in Redbridge, in East London.
Regionally, the East Midlands has the highest proportion of low earners - 26.9 per cent - while the South East has the lowest at 18.8 per cent.
Across the East of England, 22.8 per cent of jobs pay below the Real Living Wage.
Helen Barnard, deputy director of policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said it was vital to invest in places with low employment and low pay.
Part-time workers are more affected by low pay than those with full-time jobs. In North Herts, 7,000 part-time workers are taking home less than the living wage - 43.3 per cent of the total, while 16.5 per cent of full-time workers were paid less than the living wage.