NORTHFIELD has been named as the worst place in the UK for workers having jobs that pay below the ‘living wage’.
The shocking statistics, released by The TUC as part of its Fair Pay Fortnight, show 53.4 per cent of employment opportunities in the town pay under the living wage, currently at £7.85 for the most of the country and £9.15 in London.
The figures get even worse for women in Northfield, with 63.1 per cent of them being paid below the living wage.
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.
Northfield MP Richard Burden labelled the TUC’s revelation ‘a scandal’ and said: “This is a shocking revelation about what work pays under David Cameron.
“The figures show the Tory-led Government has utterly failed to deliver an economic recovery that reaches people in the Northfield area.
“In-work poverty is real and it means far too many working people in my constituency are struggling to make ends meet.”
He has called for urgent action to be taken, saying Birmingham’s Labour Council has committed to be a living wage employer and a Labour Government would give employers incentives to pay it too.
But Northfield’s Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Rachel Maclean said: “David Cameron recently said it’s time to give Britain a pay rise.
“I talk to people every day in our area who tell me that they are already seeing this happen in Northfield because of the Government’s long term economic plan.
“There is more to do, but working people in our area are already better off under this Government.”
She added 40,029 people had already had their Income Tax cut -and there were 2,360 fewer people relying on unemployment benefit than in 2010.
“It’s only by creating the conditions for local businesses to flourish and grow, and equipping people with the right skills and qualifications, that we can ensure that we become a high wage, high skill economy that benefits local residents,” she said.
Midlands TUC regional secretary Lee Barron said extending the living wage was a vital step towards tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty in parts of the West Midlands – and Britain as a whole.
“Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times, and these living wage figures show that women are disproportionately affected.
“Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom, and the Government’s mantra about ‘making work pay’ is completely out of touch with reality.”