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One in five still don't earn a living wage

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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MORE than one in five employees – or 430,000 people – in the South West are paid less than the Living Wage, according to new research from accountancy firm KPMG.

And more than 40 per cent of these low-paid workers said their finances are worse now than they were just one month ago.

The Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay that some employers give their staff, designed to enable workers to afford a basic standard of living.

It is currently £7.20 an hour – above the national minimum wage rate of £6.19 an hour.

The research indicates that since 2001, the Living Wage campaign has benefited more than 10,000 employees and their families, and redistributed more than £96 million to some of the lowest-paid workers in the UK. However, 4.82m people in the UK still earn less than the Living Wage.

Ian Brokenshire, office senior partner at KPMG in Plymouth, said: "With more than one in five workers in this region earning below the Living Wage, our research highlights that while times are difficult for many people, it is of course those on the lowest pay who are currently suffering the most.

"Tackling in-work poverty is vital if we are to enable more people to improve their life prospects and increase social mobility in this country."

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