Working families make up over half of poor households 

For the first time over half of households in poverty are families where at least one person works, according to the first report from The Living Wage Commission.

For the first time over half of households in poverty are families where at least one person works, according to the first report from The Living Wage Commission.

The report, Working for poverty, warns that the economic recovery could fail one in five people in paid employment and shows that spiralling living costs and stagnating wages at the bottom create a “double squeeze” on the lowest paid. 

It says 6.7 million of the 13 million people in poverty in the UK are in a family where someone works – over half the total for the first time. It adds that 5.24 million workers in Britain – equal to 21% of the workforce – are paid below a Living Wage: an increase of 420,000, or 9%, over the last 12 months and it says 2.9 million people have a household income below £15,000 a year. It adds that housing costs have tripled in the last 15 years, one and a half times the amount by which wages have risen, and electricity, gas and water bills have risen 88% in the last five years

Those on lower wages are increasingly dependent on debt, food banks and in-work benefits, it states.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and Chair of the Living Wage Commission, said: “The idea of making work pay is an empty slogan to millions of people who are hard pressed and working hard; but find themselves in a downward social spiral. They are often in two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Meanwhile the UK taxpayer picks up the bill in tax credits, in-work benefits and decreased demand in the economy.

“With the economy showing signs of recovery, employers that can pay a Living Wage must do so. They should choose between continuing to make gains on the back of poverty wages, or doing the right thing and paying a fair wage for a hard day’s work.”

The Living Wage Commission will release its final report in June 2014.





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