Work: Pay inequalities at local level

There is no North-South divide in levels of pay - only severe inequalities within different regions, a new study claims today. A study by the Low Pay Unit found low-paid workers all over Britain, with women in all areas consistently earning less than men.

The findings showed the proportion of low-paid, full-time employees in the North ranged from 13 per cent in Middlesbrough to 24 per cent in Hartlepool. In the South-west, it ranged from 8 per cent in South Gloucestershire to 27 per cent in Cornwall.

The study concluded that "average pay leagues" and talk of a "North-South divide" disguised the real inequalities which existed within local areas - and between the sexes.

While Greater London was seen as a high-earning area, the lowest-paid women there earned pounds 120 a week less than the overall average for women and men working full-time in Wales.