Figures published today show that 4.8 million people (20% of the workforce) are paid below the living wage and that this figure is increasing (2).Green Party spokesperson and Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver, said “Parts of Kent, especially in the east, are becoming low-pay ghettos. Average wages in Ashford, Swale and Thanet are the lowest in the county (3) and Thanet the lowest in south east England (4).
“Tens of thousands of Kent people are struggling to get by on poverty pay. Many are dependent on in-work benefits such as Council Tax Credit, Child and Working Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit to make ends meet”.
“Taxpayers are in effect subsidising bad employers who instead of paying their staff a decent wage are trousering extra profit knowing that someone else will pick up the tab. A compulsory living wage will ensure that people in employment don’t have to depend on benefits”.“The majority of Kent’s low paid are women working in the retail, hospitality and care sectors. There is also a huge £131 per week differential between the average weekly wage of men in full-time work in Kent and women. A gap which has been steadily growing over the past 15 years (5)”.
“The Green Party calls for an urgent review of this massively unfair gender based pay gap and for the strengthening of laws to prevent discriminatory employment practices which have led to this totally unacceptable situation”
Ends(1) See Living Wage Foundation http://www.livingwage.org.uk/
(2) Low Pay Britain 2013, The Resolution Foundation http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/
(3) Earnings in Kent 2012, Kent County Council 2013 http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/kent_facts_and_figures/the_economy_and_labour_market/earnings_and_income.aspx
(4) Earnings in Kent 2012, Kent County Council 2013 Ashford £402pw, Swale £422, Thanet £331
(5) Earnings in Kent 2012, Kent County Council 2013 page 8 average Kent male FT wage in 2012 £544.5, average Kent female FT wage £421.4 difference = £132.10