contribution by Matthew Butcher
Yesterday’s report by the High Pay Commission revealed that the top 0.1% of UK earners will see their pay rise from 5% to an estimated 14% of national income by 2030.
Worse, the ratio between executive pay and the national median income is set to rise to 214:1 by 2020. But not only do Britain’s biggest companies employ some of the richest people in the country but their workforce includes some of the poorest too.
The working poor, many of whom work for FTSE 100 companies, make up an unsettling proportion of the workforce in this country. Over 3.5 million people over 22 survive on less than £7 an hour, with the proportion amongst young workers being even higher. And inflation, currently at 4% is expected to rise.
Growing up in families with low paid parents has effects on children for the rest of their lives. Of the 2.8 million children in the UK living in poverty in 2008/9, a shocking 59% of them have one or both parents in work.
Children who grow up in poor households are, according to the Marmot Review, more likely to be affected by obesity, heart disease and mental health problems. Parents on low pay also end up having less time to spend with their kids.
A cleaner at Marks and Spencers, working for a contractor, described her shifts: “I work 7 days a week and like many other cleaners I have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to get to work from Leytonstone where I live. We can’t afford the tube and I spend 2 hours one way to get to work. My morning shift is only 4 hours.”
A Living Wage is the minimum hourly wage required for housing, food and other basic needs for an individual and their family. Within London it is set each year by the Mayor’s office and is currently £8.30. A single rate for the rest of the country is currently £7.20 per hour. The National Minimum Wage is £5.93 per hour (rising to £6.08 in October).
But the public can now help us take action by demanding that Britain’s top earning executives pay their staff a Living Wage.
FairPensions’ first Living Wage action is pressuring finance companies to become Living Wage employers. Anyone who has a financial product with a FTSE 100 company can take action – and that probably includes you.
Take action at www.activateyourmoney.org