Low pay in West Somerset is “shocking” says Labour

” Labour will be vigilant on tax credits.” cllr Andy Lewis, Minehead

New figures reveal that the scandal of low pay in West Somerset is continuing. And Labour says Tory cuts to tax credits will push low paid people deeper into poverty.

Every year, the Office for National Statistics calculates how many people are working for below the living wage (and by that they mean the proper living wage, as defined by the Living Wage Foundation). And every year they discover the shameful truth about low pay in West Somerset.

The latest figures show that 41.9 per cent of workers in the district were getting less than the £7.85 an hour which the Living Wage Foundation says you need to fund a decent life.

Minehead Labour councillor Andy Lewis said: “We all know that many people in West Somerset have to get by on low wages. But this report reveals just how bad the problem is.

“When you look at the chart of low pay, the figure for West Somerset jumps off the page. In most council areas, the figure for people who don’t earn enough to live on is between 20 and 30 per cent. The figure of more than 40 per cent for West Somerset is shocking.

“ “The defeat suffered by the government in the House of Lords this week is good news for the many people in West Somerset who are on low pay. Many of them are dependent on tax credits and they were facing a serious blow to their incomes under the cuts planned by George Osborne. We are waiting for the details, but it seems that their income will now be protected, at least in the short term.”

“It is clear, however, that the Tories still have a long term plan to cut the help given to the poor. Labour introduced tax credits. The opposition to Osborne’s cuts in the House of Lords was led by Labour. And Labour will be vigilant in monitoring what the government does now and making sure low paid people are protected.”

Low pay is a problem in other parts of Somerset. The ONS report says the percentage of workers getting less than the living wage is 33 per cent in Sedgemoor; 32 per cent in Mendip; 23 per cent in Taunton Deane and 22 per cent in South Somerset.

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