THE NUMBER of people working in Bromsgrove who are earning less than the living wage is more than many areas of inner city Birmingham – that is the claim being made by the town’s Labour Prospective Parliamentart Candidate Tom Ebbutt.
He said, figures from the Office of National Statistics, showed 25.8 per cent of employees in the district were paid below the ‘living wage’ which was currently £7.85. That is higher than the UK average of 21.7 per cent, the West Midlands average of 24.1 per cent and many Birmingham areas, including Erdington, Hall Green and Perry Barr.
When it comes to women working in Bromsgrove, the figure earning below the living wage rises to 37.9 per cent – above the 26.6 UK average and the 30.2 per cent West Midlands mean figure.
The living wage is the hourly rate considered to give people a fair standard of living. The current legal minimum wage is £6.50 per hour.
Mr Ebbutt described the situation as ‘shocking’, adding more needed to be done so people did not just survive but also ‘got on in life’.
“A jobs market of low pay and zero hours contracts means many are trapped in low paid employment with no way to get on.
“I’m proud a Labour government would campaign for more companies to adopt the living wage, raise the minimum wage and ban exploitative zero hour contracts – ensuring that our economy works for everyone, not just the few.
“Organisations that adopt the living wage report increased retention, motivation and well-being of their staff, meaning that the benefits are not just to the employees.”
And he said he would encourage all Bromsgrove employers to work towards becoming living wage employers.
“It’s the right thing to do both socially and for the future of your organisation,” he said.
But MP Sajid Javid hit back and said: “The last Labour Government left Britain with the deepest recession in almost a century and unemployment up by almost half a million.
“Since 2010, over 1.8million jobs have been created and unemployment in Bromsgrove has fallen to a record low of just 1.1 per cent.
“The biggest risk to our economic recovery is abandoning our long-term economic plan and going back to Labour’s way of more borrowing, more spending and more debt.”