That’s according to the Office of National Statistics press release which revealed that in 2014 an estimated 5.9 million jobs were paid below the Living Wage. The definition ’employee’ presumably excludes the significant numbers self-employed in Cornwall who amount to 14% of the working population compared to the 9% average. It is highly likely that a good chunk of them earn nowhere near the Living Wage.
Fact: Cornwall has the second weakest economy in the country
Cornwall experiences low wages and seasonal employment. We have the second weakest economy in the country – earnings were 19% below the national average in 2011.
Most businesses in Cornwall are small, around 14% of the working age population is self-employed compared to a national average of 9% and the skills profile in Cornwall continues to be weak despite improvements.
Cornwall experiences a combination of higher cost of living and lower than average earnings.
A Cost of Living analysis for Cornwall shows that there are a number of higher costs for the average household in Cornwall compared to the national average or to other parts of the UK – this includes water & sewerage charges, costs of energy & transport fuels & mortgages. Costs of living in Cornwall are set in the context of lower than average annual earnings & higher than average house prices .
Fact: there has been a rise in the proportion of jobs paid less than the Living Wage nationally
Figures rose to 19% in London and 23% in the rest of the UK.
Cornwall at 31.6% is well above the average in terms of the proportion paid less than the Living Wage(see below) but by no means the poorest area. If you look at this map>>, you will see adjacent areas in Devon as well as parts of London and the North, have a higher proportion of people paid below the Living Wage.
The accountancy firm KPMG said its research showed that the proportion of workers earning less than the living wage had risen for three years in a row>>> This is the national figure but Cornwall is unlikely to buck the trend
A suggested explanation by the ONS for the rise is the general wage stagnation after the economic downturn of 2008-2009, accompanied by a recovery in demand for low-skill, low-pay workers by 2013-2014. A more truthful explanation – and one that the ONS dare not give, is that Austerity politics has driven this downward trend
Fact: nationally, a disproportionate number of females nationally are paid less than the Living Wage
The same ONS figures show that In 2014, a higher percentage of female jobs were paid less than the Living Wage, compared with male jobs: 16% of male jobs in London and 18% in the rest of the UK, whereas 22% of female jobs in London and 29% in the rest of the UK.
This equates to 3.6 million female employee jobs below the Living Wage in the UK in 2014, compared with 2.3 million male employee jobs.
Fact: ‘The Living Wage’ is higher than George Osborne’s label used in the recent budget
As the Resolution Foundation points out, the Living Wage is set meticulously every year and is based on the actual cost of living, not what the market will bear. It reflects public perceptions of the income needed for a range of family types to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living. This calculation is completely unencumbered by concerns over the state of the economy or its impact on jobs. At present, it is £9.15 in London, £7.85 everywhere else – significantly higher than George Osborne’s proposed higher minimum wage.
George Osborne’s plans to introduce a compulsory minimum wage premium for all staff over 24 years of age were introduced in the July 2015 budget and from April 2016, employers are required to pay the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and older.
The compulsory rate (the National Living Wage) is based on median earnings while the voluntary living wage rates are calculated according to the cost of living.
Find a Living Wage employer in Cornwall
The Living Wage Foundation has produced an interactive map which you can see here>>>
Just key in your postcode to come up with a location of Living Wage employees in Truro, Redruth, Penzance, St Austell and other areas.
*What is the Living Wage?
The Living Wage is set meticulously every year and is based on the actual cost of living, not what the market will bear. It reflects public perceptions of the income needed for a range of family types to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living. This calculation is completely unencumbered by concerns over the state of the economy or its impact on jobs. At present, it is £9.15 in London, £7.85 everywhere else – significantly higher than George Osborne’s proposed higher minimum wage.
BBC: Six million workers paid ‘less than the living wage’