THREE-QUARTERS of people in low-paid work are unable to escape
into higher-paid positions, even after a decade of regular
employment, a new report suggests.
Using official data to track low-paid workers throughout the
past decade, a study by the think tank Resolution Foundation set
out to discover how many progressed into better-paid jobs. Their
report, Escape Plan, found that some moved up the income
ladder, but they soon slipped back again.
Researchers found that only a quarter managed to escape low pay
permanently, and that single parents, older workers, disabled
people, and part-time workers were most likely to find it
particularly hard to move out of low-paid work.
The chairman of the social poverty and Child Poverty Commission,
Alan Milburn MP, said: "The majority of Britain's poorest-paid
workers never escape the low-pay trap. Too many simply cycle in and
out of low-paying jobs instead of being able to move up the pay
ladder. Any sort of work is better than no work, but being in a job
does not guarantee a route out of poverty.
"This research provides compelling evidence for employers and
Government to do more on pay progression. It is a powerful argument
for Britain to become a Living Wage country."
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, addressed the CBI conference
this week, and urged it to embrace the Living Wage. He said:
"Britain is at risk of becoming a place where the 'haves' and the
'have nots' live in separate parallel worlds; where the 'Common
Good' has become a pious platitude rather than a genuine believable
"We must find both the political and economic will to create a
society which is fair for all rather than fair for a small few.
Income inequality is a stain on all our consciences."
The new Living Wage rate was announced last week. It is now
£7.85 an hour - a rise of 2.6 per cent on the 2013 rate, and 21 per
cent higher than the national minimum wage. In London, it is
Last month, the Resolution Foundation reported that the
proportion of employees in low-paid work (defined as two-thirds of
median hourly pay: £7.69 an hour) increased from 21 to 22 per cent
last year, to 5.2 million. It concluded that the UK had among the
highest proportion of full-time low-paid workers across the
Payday loans to be capped. The Financial
Conduct Authority announced a cap on the cost of payday loans this
week. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, urged people to
turn to credit unions instead. Church schools in his diocese have
set up savings clubs for children through credit unions.