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More bosses heed pledge for Living Wage in East End, says KPMG report

PUBLISHED: 11:51 17 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:53 17 November 2014

London Citizens assembly at Stepney's Troxy in 2012 which included its Living Wage campaign

London Citizens assembly at Stepney's Troxy in 2012 which included its Living Wage campaign

Archant

More company bosses in London’s deprived East End are heeding the pledge for a decent ‘living wage’ for low-paid workers than elsewhere.

Only one-in-10 employees are scratching a living on poverty wages—half the average across London, Canary Wharf analysts have found.

The Living Wage campaign first launched 10 years ago by Telco, The East London Communities Organisation, now appears to have gone full circle and is showing results in one of Britain’s most deprived areas.

The East End has streaked ahead with London’s lowest percentage of poverty wages, according to KPMG accountants.

Worst areas in London for less-than-minimum wages are around Wembley and Willesden, where 20 per cent of Brent’s workforce struggles to make ends meet on wages below the poverty line.

London overall has a slight rise of one per cent in the numbers living hald-to-mouth on meagre pay packets compared to 2013, despite signs of the economy coming out of recession.

KPMG’s findings follow a ‘State of the Nation’ report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission urging the UK to be committed to be a Living Wage nation by 2025.

“Low income households been struggling to make ends meet far too long,” KPMG’s Mike Kelly said.

More than five million people in Britain earn less than they need to live on. Too many families still struggle to afford the basics, which should have long been consigned to the footnotes of history.”

The accountancy firm stresses that employing staff stuck in the working poverty trap is “bad for business” and a false economy.

“The benefits of paying a Living Wage means lower staff turnover and higher productivity,” Kelly insists. “It’s a moderate investment for maximum return.”

The ratio of those on less than £8.80 an hour minimum is higher among part-time workers, especially women, the figures show. The number of youth unemployed is falling, but those under 21 remain most likely to be caught in the ‘working poverty’ trap.

The Living Wage campaign was first launched in Whitechapel in 2004 by Telco, now known as London Citizens UK, which scored its first success at Canary Wharf, ironically where the latest KPMG analysis was drawn up.

Banks like Barclays were first to sign up. Tower Hamlets Council followed, making the ‘Living Wage’ a clause in its orders with suppliers and contractors.

The campaign now has 1,000 organisations across the country pledged to honour a living wage.


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