Five million Britons are working in low paid jobs despite the UK being the fastest growing economy in Europe, a leading think tank has warned.
The research, produced by the Resolution Foundation, suggests those earning less than two thirds of median hourly pay – currently £7.69 per hour – rose by a quarter of a million people since 2013, to 5.2 million people.
The report also highlights that those on low income wages were less likely to move out of their jobs, with the majority of people finding themselves stuck on the same wage over the past five years.
“While recent months have brought much welcome news on the number of people moving into employment, the squeeze on real earnings continues,” said the Resolution Foundation’s chief economist Matthew Whittaker.
“While low pay is likely to be better than no pay at all, it's troubling that the number of low-paid workers across Britain reached a record high last year.”
Whittaker said the government needs to look more closely at the kind of jobs being created, the industries that are growing and the ability of people to move from one job or sector to the other “if we're really going to get to grips with low pay in Britain today,” he added.
According to the opposition Labour Party, average wages after inflation are down £1,600 since 2010, while academics from the University of Bath estimate that Britons have lost an average of £5,000 per year due to wage depreciation.
“The economy is on the road to recovery. With more people in work than ever before, the Government wants to help all workers share the benefits of economic growth,” a spokesperson from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills said.
“That is why we have taken continued action to help low-paid workers by taking lower earners out of income tax and asking the Low Pay Commission to consider how we can further increase the real value of the national minimum wage, without having an adverse impact on jobs,” they added.