EARNINGS: Pay gap widens between regions

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Campaigners say a survey on low pay proves that Britain is becoming an increasingly divided society.

The Low Pay Network claims in a report published today that the pay gap between workers in different regions has widened to more than pounds 140 a week. Average earnings in Greater London were pounds 455 a week, compared with pounds 313 in Wales. And although average pay throughout the country was pounds 351 last year, one in 10 manual male workers earned less than pounds 173 a week and one in 10 manual women employees less than pounds 119, said the report.

Average earnings in the regions included pounds 365 a week in the South-east, pounds 330 in the North-west, pounds 326 in the South-west, pounds 325 in East Anglia, pounds 324 in Scotland and the West Midlands and pounds 315 in the North. Peter Kelly, who co-wrote the report, said: "These findings reinforce the view that Britain is now a deeply divided society. While some workers continue to prosper, many others have been left to cope with the effects of our down- sized, casualised, flexible labour market."