Numbers of workers paid less than Living Wage on the rise with women and students hit hardest

A Living Wage has been raised to £7.85 nationwide, but is not statutory

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The Independent Online

Women and young people continue to be the poorest paid in the UK with new research revealing nearly 5.3 million people are paid less than the Living Wage.

As Living Wage Week kicks off today to highlight the plight of those underpaid, a report by accountancy firm KPMG revealed that the number of people who are paid less than the Living Wage has risen in the past year.

The research, conducted by Markit for KPMG, found 22 per cent of employees now earn less – an extra 147,000 people than last year.

Mike Kelly, head of Living Wage at KPMG, said: “Although there are almost 1,000 organisations pledged to pay a Living Wage, far too many UK employees are stuck in the spiral of low pay. “With the cost of living still high the squeeze on household finances remains acute, meaning that the reality for many is that they are forced to live hand to mouth. Inflation may be easing, but unless wages rise we will continue to see huge swathes of people caught between the desire to contribute to society and the inability to afford to do so.”

 

Despite the rise, a number of large businesses have recently committed to paying a rate above the minimum £6.50 an hour. A Living Wage has been raised to £7.85 nationwide, but is not statutory.

Cinema group Cineworld last month agreed to pay the London Living Wage to workers at its Picturehouse Cinemas arm.

While today Kit Kat and Nespresso consumer goods giant Nestlé UK announced it has become a ‘principal partner’ of the Living Wage Foundation, becoming the first major manufacturer to do so.

It will work with the foundation to help recruit its suppliers and contractors to sign up. All Nestlé UK’s 8,000 employees are already paid the Living Wage but it is now working with contractors to ensure that their employees who work at Nestlé’s sites will be paid the UK Living Wage by December 2017.

Nestlé UK & Ireland Group HR Director, Matt Stripe said: “As a major UK employer we know that acting responsibly is not only good for the communities we operate in, but also makes good business sense.”

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