Half a million workers in the west paid less than a Living Wage

Photo of Ian Brokenshire, Senior Partner for KPMG in the South West

Ian Brokenshire

Some 484,000 people in the South West are paid less than the Living Wage, according to new estimates published by KPMG.

This is the equivalent of 22 per cent of employees in the region.

Figures are slightly down on 2015, however, when 23 per cent of employees earned less than the Living Wage.

In the UK as a whole, 5.6 million people, or 22 per cent of all employees earn less than the Living Wage.

The total number of people in the UK earning below the Living Wage was broadly stable in 2016, but remains 1.1 million higher than four years ago.

The proportion of employees earning less than the Living Wage has also risen steadily over this period, from 19 percent in 2012 to 22 percent in 2016.

Ian Brokenshire, Senior Partner for KPMG in the South West, said: “Previously many businesses worried that increased wages hit their bottom line, but there is ample evidence to suggest the opposite. By paying the Living Wage we have seen improved staff morale, a rise in service standards, improved retention of staff and increased productivity.

“It is clear that it may not be possible or practical for everyone, but all organisations need to do what they can to address the problem of low pay. Of course, change cannot happen instantly, but making an initial assessment is an important first step.”