The latest figure indicates that 28 per cent of all employees (117,000 people) across Lancashire earn less than £7.85 per hour – the current Living Wage for areas outside of London and the amount experts believe individuals need to earn to cover the basic costs of living.
The data reflects a worse situation than that across the wider North West region, where 25 per cent of employees, the equivalent of 670,000 people, earn below the threshold. When looking at the North West as a whole, employees in West Lancashire are the worst off, with 40 per cent of the working population earning below the Living Wage, while 37 per cent and 36 per cent of employees in Rossendale and Wyre are paid less than £7.85 per hour respectively.
Nationally, the proportion of workers earning less than the Living Wage has risen for the third year running. The data also suggests a worrying trend which sees part-time, female and young workers as the most likely to earn a wage that fails to provide a basic but decent standard of living.
The research, conducted by Markit for KPMG, shows that part-time jobs are three times as likely to pay below £7.85 per hour (or £9.15 in London) as full-time roles. Despite accounting for less than one-third of all UK jobs, there are more part-time roles paying less than the Living Wage (3.205 million) than full-time jobs (2.623 million).
Richard Evans, office senior partner, KPMG in Preston, said: “The past year has seen some notable achievements, with both the number of employers accredited by the Living Wage Foundation and awareness of the issue among the general public increasing.
“However, there is still a worrying proportion of people across Lancashire being paid below the Living Wage.
“With the cost of living still high and household finances being continually squeezed, many are forced to live hand to mouth.
“The figures released today show that there is still more to be done if we are to eradicate in-work poverty.”