Archbishop’s living wage plea
A COMMISSION chaired by Archbishop John Sentamu has warned that millions of workers will miss out on the economic recovery unless they are paid a living wage.
A new report from the independent Living Wage Commission shows over five million people are living on less than the living wage set at £7.95 an hour, £8.80 in London. The number of workers paid less than the living wage actually increased by nine per cent over the past year.
The report says low paid workers have been hit by rising costs, particularly in energy and housing. Food costs 44 per cent more than it did in 2005 while energy prices have doubled.
According to the report, “one in every five workers are paid less than they need to maintain a basic, but socially acceptable standard of living”.
Referring to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s promise to ‘make work pay’, Dr Sentamu claimed that “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”.
He argued that “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 do the right thing and pay a fair day’s wage for a hard day’s work”.
As a result of low pay, the Archbishop warned, taxpayers would still be paying out millions in benefits despite the economic recovery because wages were so low.
According to Dr Sentamu, poorly paid people often have to take on two or three jobs to make ends meet. The report shows that a worker on a living wage gets double the amount of family time as someone on the minimum wage during a typical week and it also produces evidence to show that children of parents on low wage are less likely to achieve at school.