Shock figures show that almost half of women in South Ribble are not being paid the Living Wage.
The area is third worst in the north west, with 47.9 per cent of women earning less than £7.85, based on based on statistics from the House of Commons Library. South Ribble is also third worst in the north west for men and women combined, with 38.1 per cent on less than the Living Wage.
North West TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins called on the Government and employers to extend the living wage as a “vital step” in tackling in-work poverty.
She said: “Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times, and these living wage figures show that women have been hit the hardest. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom, and it’s time that the government and employers recognised that Britain needs a pay rise.
“Without action on pay and the living wage it will take years to get spending power back into our economy.”
Seema Kennedy, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate (PCC) commented that the Conservatives had increased the minimum wage and increased the basic rate Income Tax threshold, and the long-term economic plan was starting to work.
She said: “I believe Britain can now afford a Minimum Wage rise, and I support the Living Wage and back businesses who pay it.
“But we know there is much more to do to raise living standards. That’s why we need to stick to our long-term economic plan that is growing the economy, creating jobs and ensuring that living standards rise for everyone in South Ribble.”
Sue McGuire, PCC for the Lib Dems also commented on the increased personal tax allowance brought in by the coalition Government and said her party wants to establish an independent review to consult on how to set a fair Living Wage.
She said: “We will ensure this Living Wage is paid by all central government departments and executive agencies from April 2016 onwards, and encourage other public sector bodies including local authorities to do likewise.”
Veronica Bennet, PCC for Labour, said: “Britain needs a pay rise: looking at these figures, South Ribble needs it more than most. If elected in May, Labour will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour, offering tax breaks to businesses that pay the Living Wage. That’s worth up to £3,000 a year for all the people in South Ribble that these statistics represent.”