Two Staffordshire constituencies among worst in West Midlands for living wage

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More than a third of people in two Staffordshire constituencies earn less than the living wage, shocking figures show.

Stoke-on-Trent North was third highest in a study of all West Midlands constituencies, with 36.6% of people earning below £7.85 an hour.

Staffordshire Moorlands was fifth with 34.4% below the wage.

The study is based on the cost of living in Britain, which is higher than the national minimum wage currently at £6.50 an hour.

Staffordshire Moorlands was also the second worst constituency in the West Midlands for women earning below the living wage, with 45.5% earning less.

The figures, published by the Trade Unions Congress, show Stoke-on-Trent Central faring better with just 15.8% of people and 18.5% of women paid below the living wage.

Karen Bradley, Conservative MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, said: “Low pay is of course an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

“That’s why the Chancellor has already raised the personal allowance twice, taking three million people out of income tax altogether and saving others hundreds of pounds a year.”

Trudie McGuinness, Labour candidate for the Staffordshire Moorlands at this year’s General Election, said low wages were a massive issue for the Moorlands and that higher pay for lowest paid workers was important for a strong economy.

“It is simply not acceptable that so many people who are working in the Moorlands are trying to survive on such a low wage,” she told Staffslive.

“There is a gross inequality in terms of wages,” she said, adding that women had been hit disproportionately by austerity over the past four years.

“Unemployment is relatively low in the Moorlands, but the type of work that is available is often insecure and low paid.

“The Labour Party is going to outlaw zero hours contracts in the life-time of the next Parliament.”

Midlands TUC regional secretary Lee Barron said extending the living wage was vital to combat in-work poverty in the Midlands.

“Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times,” he said.

“These living wage figures show women are disproportionately affected.

“Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom, and the government’s mantra about ‘making work pay’ is completely out of touch with reality.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it.

“But we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage.”

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