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UK: Living Wage Could Save Dying Economy
The Grapevine Magazine

September 16, 2010
View the Original Article

Approximately 5.3 million British workers aren’t earning enough to live according to a new report from the Fair Pay Network (FPN).

Unfinished Business: The Quest for a Living Wage, supported by the TUC, states that a “living wage” would be the key to economic recovery. Results showed that the number of workers that fall below the low pay threshold in the UK is one of the highest in Europe - over a fifth of workers in the country earn less than £6.75 an hour.

These low salaries cause significant levels of wage inequality and are causing workers to work longer hours. As well as this, debt is increasing due to the gap between people’s earnings and their living costs. The amount owed by UK households has tripled in the last decade.

Frances O'Grady, Deputy General Secretary, TUC says: “Government Ministers, public authorities, businesses and the City have seen the moral and practical benefits of paying a living wage. This is not a luxury in a time of economic downturn, but the key to building a fair, equitable and sustainable recovery.”

KPMG, a company that has implemented the living wage ideal, shows that there are benefits for both employers and employees. The professional services firm’s Head of Facilities Management in Europe, Guy Stallard says: “We have found that paying the living wage has benefits on both sides, as increasing wages has reduced staff turnover and absenteeism, whilst productivity and professionalism has subsequently increased.”