Thousands of badly paid workers in North Herts and Stevenage are struggling to make ends meet

PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 May 2019

Thousands of people are struggling to make ends meet. Picture: Pexels.

Thousands of people are struggling to make ends meet. Picture: Pexels.

Archant

Every single part-time worker in North Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire is earning less than the Real Living Wage - a rate based on what it actually costs to make ends meet in the UK.

Every single part-time worker in North Hertfordshire and Central Bedfordshire is earning less than the Real Living Wage - a rate based on what it actually costs to make ends meet in the UK.

And half of part-time workers in Stevenage are earning less than the living wage, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics relating to 2017/18.

The Real Living Wage is £9 an hour and takes into account costs relating to private rent, council tax, groceries and public transport.

It is a voluntary scheme employers can sign up to and is a higher rate than the compulsory National Minimum Wage, which is £8.21 an hour for people aged 25 and over.

The ONS figures show 20 per cent of jobs (8,000) in Stevenage pay less than the living wage, and 10 per cent of jobs (6,100) in North Herts and Central Beds (13,100) pay less than the living wage.

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Warren Kenny, London regional secretary for trade union GMB, said: "There is a very high proportion of working families struggling to make ends meet every day. Policies need to take this into account.

"Families dependent on housing benefits are adversely affected by the cuts to working families tax credits as it transitions to the universal credit system. The cuts should be reversed.

"On new homes planned, the majority must be for rent as affordable social housing.

"On energy, the Office for Budget Responsibility says that by 2022 subsidies to be paid to investors for low or zero carbon energy sources by households will amount to £10 per household per week. This is grossly unfair for these lower paid households. The subsidies should be paid for out of general taxation.

"Contractors of outsourced public sector jobs should be required to offer a living wage to all workers doing these jobs.

"The law allows employers impunity to deny the legal rights of lower paid workers to combine into trade unions to force collective bargaining to get a better deal at work. This is perverse and should be changed.

"GMB London calls for real change to improve the upstairs downstairs labour market in the East of England."

The average gross hourly earnings in 2017/18 were £13.92 in Stevenage, £15.65 in North Herts and £14.14 in Central Beds.

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