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A quarter of workers in St Edmundsbury earn below the real living wage, data reveals

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A quarter of workers in St Edmundsbury earn below the real living wage, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

The latest data reveals 25 per cent of jobs in St Edmundsbury earn less than the real living wage – around 14,000 workers in total.

The real living wage, which was £8.75 per hour when the data was compiled but is now £9, is set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Helen Barnard, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (11378487)
Helen Barnard, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (11378487)

It is higher than the Government's living wage introduced in 2016, which is the legal minimum employers must pay workers aged 25 and over, and instead calculates the minimum amount a person needs to earn to meet everyday living costs.

The Living Wage Foundation says businesses paying the real living wage benefit from more productive and motivated workers.

The figures reveal 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 per cent in Redbridge, East London.

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 is totally unacceptable that at a time of record employment we are seeing a rising tide of in-work poverty across the country.

“We need to be more ambitious about improving pay and progression for those at the bottom.”

The data also reveals a significant gender gap among living wage earners in St Edmundsbury, with women more likely to earn below the threshold – 30.5 per cent compared to 20.3 per cent of men.

Part-time workers are more affected by low pay than those with full-time jobs.

In St Edmundsbury, 5,000 part-time workers are taking home less than the living wage – 33.7 per cent of the total.

Twenty-two per cent of full-time workers were paid less than the living wage.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “For too many people, the insecurity of not knowing if they will earn enough to pay the bills and put food on the table is a daily fact of life.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it was committed to fair pay for workers.