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A third of Newham workers are not paid enough to live on

PUBLISHED: 10:46 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:46 30 May 2019

More than a third of Newham workers earn less than Real Living Wage, the latest Office for National Statistics figures reveal. Picture: PA Images / Dominic Lipinski.

More than a third of Newham workers earn less than Real Living Wage, the latest Office for National Statistics figures reveal. Picture: PA Images / Dominic Lipinski.

PA Wire/PA Images

Newham has one of the highest proportions of low earners in England, with more than a third of workers paid less than the Real Living Wage.

Charities and trade unions have warned of a "rising tide of in-work poverty" across the country, with millions of workers struggling to make ends meet.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show 33.8 per cent of jobs in Newham pay less than the Real Living Wage - around 23,000 workers in total.

The Real Living Wage, which was £10.20 per hour for workers in London when the data was compiled but has since been raised to £10.55, is set by the Living Wage Foundation.

That rate is higher than the living wage introduced by government in 2016. It is calculated from the minimum amount a person needs to meet their everyday cost of living.

The Living Wage Foundation argues that businesses paying the living wage benefit from more productive and motivated workers.

"If we want to build a modern, dynamic economy, we need to see more businesses step up and join the over 5,000 Living Wage employers committed to pay a fair day's pay for a hard day's work," said its director Katherine Chapman.

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The numbers reveal stark variations across the country.

Workers earning below the living wage are at a low of 6.3 per cent in the City of London. The worst area is Redbridge, where almost half of workers are paid below the Real Living Wage.

It is vital to invest in places with low employment and low pay according to Helen Barnard, deputy director of policy at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

"It is totally unacceptable that at a time of record employment we are seeing a rising tide of in-work poverty across the country," she said.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the government should ban zero and short hours contracts.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it was committed to fair pay for workers.

"Last month's rise in the National Living and Minimum Wage has benefited millions of people, and our minimum wage rates are now among the highest in the world," she said.

"The Low Pay Commission, who recommend our minimum and living wage rates, are working to increase the Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020."

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