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A new report shows that 23 per cent of Bradfordians do not earn a living wage
More than 40,000 workers in Bradford are paid less than the living wage, a report has shown.
It means 23 per cent of all workers are paid less than what is believed to be needed for a basic standard of living, compared to one in five nationally and 22 per cent across Yorkshire and Humber.
The living wage rate is £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 in the rest of the UK. But unlike the minimum wage that employers must pay by law which is £6.19 per hour for over 21s, the living rate is voluntary.
A spokesman for UK debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty, which has its headquarters in Bradford, said: “It is not that surprising to us that just under a quarter of working people in the Bradford district are not paid the living wage considering the well-documented pockets of poverty that exist here.
“However, when companies pay less than a fair wage, they open themselves up to the expense of employees absenteeism through stress-related sickness – especially when members of staff may be covering more bases than they did in more affluent times.
“About half of the debt clients we see across the UK are under the poverty line because when you don’t have much coming in, it doesn’t take a big event to throw a household’s finances into crisis. All of them receive a free and award-winning service which supports them until the day they are debt free.”
The figures come weeks after Holme Christian Community based in Holme Wood, one of Bradford’s largest social housing estates, reported it has seen demand at its food bank, the King’s Pantry, increase at an alarming rate over the past few months. It is feared the pressure on families to make ends meet will only get worse.
The KPMG research also comes ahead of next week’s Living Wage Week, and shows bar, restaurant, catering and retail staff are among the worst affected.
Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said: “As KPMG’s analysis highlights, paying workers enough to keep their families out of poverty and out of debt can provide the foundation for more productive businesses and a stronger and better balanced economy.
“That’s why Labour councils are leading the way in paying a living wage to their employees, and encouraging local businesses to do the same.
“But the Tories are going in the opposite direction, with provocative proposals for regional and local pay that would divide north against south, public sector against private, dedicated care workers against struggling small businesses.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Government is committed to the national minimum wage. It provides protection to low-paid workers and incentives to work. It is important that we have a minimum wage that helps as many low-paid workers as possible, while at the same time making sure that we do not damage their employment prospects by setting it too high.”