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Percentage Of Low Paid Jobs By Region

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Full Extent Of Low-Pay Crisis In England And Wales Revealed By Figures Showing Percentage Of Jobs Paying Less Than Living Wage In Every Local Area

No area is immune from low-pay epidemic which is why all local authorities need to champion the Living Wage in their communities, says GMB at launch of new town-hall pay campaign. 

The full extent of low-wage employment in England and Wales is laid bare by GMB analysis of the latest official estimates for the percentage of jobs paying less than the Living Wage in every local-authority area.

The ten local-authority areas in England and Wales with the largest proportion of jobs paying less than the Living Wage in 2014 were West Somerset (42.9%), Harrow (41.1%), Torridge (38.6%), West Lancashire (38.3%), Waltham Forest (38.2%), Breckland (38.0%), West Devon (37.3%), North Norfolk (36.5%), North East Derbyshire (36.3%) and Woking (35.9%).

At regional level, the East Midlands has the largest proportion of jobs paying less than the Living Wage (24.7%, or 1 in 4 jobs) in England and Wales, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (24.3%), the West Midlands (24.1%), Wales (23.9%), the North West (23.6%), North East (23.4%), South West (22.6%), East of England (22.3%), London (18.3%) and the South East (17.8% or about 1 in 6 jobs). 

For the UK as a whole, 21.7% of jobs paid less than the Living Wage in 2014. Women and part-time workers are disproportionately affected: 26.6% of jobs held by women and 42.3% of part-time jobs are below the Living Wage.

The figures are estimates produced by the Office for National Statistics based on its 2014 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. The figures have been analysed and ranked by GMB. See table below for regional averages, and notes to editors for sources and definitions. For details and rankings of local-authority areas, see the GMB regional press releases set out as pdfs at the foot of the national release on the GMB website, www.gmb.org.uk.

GMB is publishing this material to mark the launch of its 2015 campaign to get every local authority signed up to the Living Wage. 134 out of 375 local authorities in England and Wales have so far implemented the Living Wage for their lowest-paid staff or committed to doing so (see Note 2 for full list), up from 103 a year ago. In Scotland all 32 local authorities have signed up. GMB is calling on all local authorities in England and Wales to get on board and to put their weight behind local efforts to persuade more employers to adopt the Living Wage.

The Living Wage is a recommended rate of pay that takes into account the true cost of living in the UK. In November 2014 the national Living Wage increased to £7.85 per hour and the London Living Wage to £9.15 per hour (see Note 3). These estimates relate to April 2014 and to the rates applying at that time (national Living Wage £7.65 per hour; London Living Wage £8.80).

REGIONAL AVERAGES FOR PERCENTAGE OF JOBS WITH HOURLY PAY BELOW THE LIVING WAGE

 

 

% below the Living Wage

 

Rank (highest % of jobs below LW to lowest %)   

 

All employees

Male employees

Female employees

Part-time employees

1

East Midlands

24.7

18.9

31.1

47.1

2

Yorkshire and The Humber

24.3

17.8

30.9

45.7

3

West Midlands

24.1

18.4

30.2

44.4

4

Wales

23.9

18.7

28.6

44.3

5

North West

23.6

18.3

28.9

46.4

6

North East

23.4

16.5

29.9

46.8

7

South West

22.6

16.9

28.2

41.5

8

East of England

22.3

16.9

27.7

40.8

9

London

18.3

15.7

21.4

43.8

10

South East

17.8

13.6

22.2

35.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

21.7

16.8

26.6

42.3

 

GMB National Secretary for Public Services, Brian Strutton, said: “No area is immune from the low-pay epidemic which is why all local authorities need to champion the Living Wage in their communities, beginning with their own staff and contractors. There are 446,300 council employees paid less than the Living Wage, the majority of them women working part-time (see Note 4).

“The Living Wage matters because it takes into account the income that people need for a minimum acceptable standard of living. It is a first step towards a rate of pay that people can live on without relying on benefits. Life below the Living Wage is a life of want and worry for millions of workers and their families.

“Town halls can’t solve the low-pay problem on their own and some in the worst-hit areas are already signed up to the Living Wage. But councils are a very important part of the picture locally, not least through their procurement of goods and services from other local employers.

“134 out of 375 local authorities in England and Wales have so far agreed to pay the Living Wage which means we are more than a third of the way there. This year GMB aims to get the remainder on board. We call on the next government to earmark additional funding to local government to support this important initiative.

“One of the key recommendations of last year’s All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK was for local authorities to pay the Living Wage and use their procurement strategies to encourage local businesses to do likewise. Public-health experts are warning that people need a sufficient income in order to live a healthy life (see Note 5). There is also a strong business case for implementing the Living Wage because it raises morale and productivity, improves attendance and reduces staff turnover (see Note 6).

End

Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Equality & Diversity Officer on 07956 237178 or Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary on 07860 606137 or Gary Doolan, GMB National Political Officer on 07852 182358 or Martin Smith, GMB National Organiser on 07974 251722 or GMB press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

Notes to editors

1) Figures are estimates for the proportion of employee jobs with hourly pay excluding overtime below the Living Wage as of April 2014. They were produced by the Office for National Statistics on 27 November 2014 based on the ONS's Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings published on 19 November 2014. Employee jobs are defined as those held by employees and not the self-employed. Individuals with more than one job may appear in the sample more than once. No estimates are available for three local-authority areas: Isles of Scilly, Purbeck, Rutland. The source material including a key to the quality of each estimate is available at http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2014-11-21/215522/.

2) Councils that have implemented or committed to implement the Living Wage*:

EAST MIDLANDS: Amber Valley BC, Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Bolsover DC, Corby BC, Derby City, Derbyshire CC, Gedling, Leicester City, Lincoln City, Mansfield, Melton, Newark & Sherwood, North East Derbyshire, North Kesteven, Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire, Oadby & Wigston, West Lindsey

EAST OF ENGLAND: Cambridge, Colchester, Harlow, Ipswich, Luton, Norwich, Thurrock, Stevenage

LONDON: Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Corporation of London, Croydon, Ealing,

Enfield, Greenwich, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham,

Redbridge, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest

NORTH EAST: Newcastle, South Tyneside

NORTH WEST: Allerdale, Blackpool, Burnley, Bury, Carlisle, Chorley, Copeland, Cumbria, Hyndburn, Lancashire, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Rossendale, Salford,

Stockport, Trafford, West Lancashire, Wigan, Wirral

SOUTH EAST: Brighton & Hove, Cherwell, Crawley, Dartford, Eastleigh, Epsom & Ewell, Gravesham, Oxford City, Slough, Southampton, Surrey, Tunbridge Wells, Waverley, Winchester

SOUTH WEST: Bristol City, Cornwall, East Devon, Exeter, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, Gloucester City, Mendip, North Dorset, Plymouth, Sedgemoor, South Gloucester, Stroud, Taunton Deane, Tewkesbury

WALES: Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport, Swansea

WEST MIDLANDS: Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Coventry, Herefordshire, Malvern Hills, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Redditch, Rugby, Stoke on Trent, Stratford District, Warwick District, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest

YORKSHIRE & HUMBER: Barnsley, Calderdale, Doncaster, North East Lincs, Rotherham, Scarborough, Sheffield, Wakefield, York

Grand total for England and Wales*: 134

*In addition, the following authorities as at September 2014 had pay structures that meant all employees were paid at or above the Living Wage without the authorities formally adopting it: in London, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster; in the South East, Elmbridge, Guildford, Maidstone, Shepway, Swale and Tandridge.

3) The national Living Wage applies outside London and is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University based on the income required for a “minimum acceptable standard of living”. In November 2014 it went up to £7.85 per hour. The calculation assumes that families claim all the benefits they are entitled to. Increases to the Living Wage are capped to prevent it rising much faster than average earnings.

The London Living Wage is calculated by the Greater London Authority, based on a “low cost but acceptable” household budget combined with a threshold (60 per cent) of the median London income. In November 2014 it went up to £9.15 per hour.

4) Source: LGA, Local Government Earnings Survey 2013/14. Typical low-paid jobs providing council services are home helps, school dinner staff, teaching assistants, cleaners, grave diggers, admin assistants, Sure Start workers, refuse staff, caretakers, meals on wheels staff, care workers and school crossing patrols.

5) A recent report commissioned by Public Health England commented that “adequate wages are vital for providing people with sufficient income to live a healthy life” and that “local authorities can lead by example as a major employer by paying a living wage”. UCL Institute of Health Equity, Local action on health inequalities: Health inequalities and the Living Wage, September 2014; www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-action-on-health-inequalities-evidence-papers.

6) Academics at Queen Mary University of London reported in 2012 that “the move to the Living Wage – or the comparison between Living Wage and non-Living Wage workplaces – showed reduced rates of labour turnover and sickness … Workers were less likely to leave the workplace when they were paid the Living Wage … On average, rates of labour turnover went down by 25%”. See summary at www.trustforlondon.org.uk/policy-change/strategic-work-item/london-living-wage/ or full report at www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/livingwage/docs/141972.pdf.

A 2009 study by the London Economics consultancy found “clear evidence that employers have benefited across a wide range of areas” from implementing the Living Wage. Over 80% of employers said it had enhanced the quality of the work of their staff; two-thirds that it had significantly improved recruitment and retention; and a majority that it had reduced sickness absence. See http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/economic_unit/docs/living-wage-benefits-report.pdf.

 

 

 

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