600,000 working age people in South West are living in poverty

By agency reporter
March 23, 2018

Trades Union Congress (TUC) analysis of new official poverty figures published on 22 march 2018 has found that working age poverty in the South West has fallen slowly since 2010/11, despite regional unemployment falling significantly. 

The proportion of working age people living in poverty was 20 per cent in 2010/11, and 18 per cent in 2016/17, according to the new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The slow progress comes despite unemployment in the South West falling considerably from 6.6 per cent in 2011 to 3.6 per cent in 2017.

TUC Regional Secretary for the South West, Nigel Costley, said: “If you work hard, you shouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet. Yet despite rising employment, lots of working families in the South West are still living in poverty. Unless ministers reverse their planned cuts to universal credit, things will get much worse. 

“Working people in the South West desperately need a new deal. First of all, this means cracking down on exploitative zero-hours contracts and sham self-employment. We also need more public investment in national and regional infrastructure, as well as our public services to support the creation of decent jobs that a family can live on.”

The TUC is calling on the government to improve pay and increase the supply of well-paid work by:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to £10 as quickly as possible
  • Giving all public-sector workers a fully funded proper pay rise, after years of pay cuts
  • Raising public investment to the OECD average of 3.5 per cent of GDP, so that the UK has the infrastructure needed to attract business and create well-paid jobs
  • Establishing a National Investment Bank, with a remit to target communities where good quality and well-paid jobs are most needed
  • Strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers, and setting up new bodies to negotiate pay in sectors where low pay is endemic, such as hospitality, agricultural labour and care work

* Read the ONS figures here

* TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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