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One in four low-paid workers 'trapped' in jobs - report

John Ashmore

2 min read

A quarter of the lowest-paid workers in the UK are stuck in their jobs with next to no chance of earning more money, new research has revealed.


The Social Mobility Commission said there was an "endemic low pay problem" which had "dire" consequences for people's chances of getting on in life. 

It comes after the latest wage data showed average salaries falling by 0.3%, while CPI inflation has hit 3%, meaning many workers are facing a real-terms pay cut. 

Jeremy Corbyn seized on the data at Prime Minister's Questions to claim the Tories are presiding over a "weak economy", in spite of record low unemployment. 

Today's report from the government-backed commission shows that on average, lower-paid workers have seen a real terms pay rise of just 40p an hour in the last decade, compared to £4.83 for those on higher wages.

And while three quarters of lower paid workers managed to find a more lucrative role at some point in the last 10 years, only one in six managed to stay on a higher pay scale. 

Retail and hospitality were the two industries with the worst overall wages, the report found.

The chair of the Commission, former Labour minister Alan Milburn, called for a renewed effort from government and business to address low pay. 

“Britain’s flexible workforce gives us global economic advantage but a two-tier labour market is now exacting too high a social price," he said. 

"A new approach is needed to break the vicious cycle where low skills lead to low pay in low quality jobs."

However, the Resolution Foundation thinktank, which carried out the research, said the Government's increases in the minimum wage were playing a "massive role in reducing low pay".  

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