Government warned not to ignore low-paid workers

The Government must look beyond the unemployed and expand opportunities for the 10 million workers earning less than £15,000 in order to meet targets for poverty reduction and benefit savings, a thinktank has warned.

The Work Foundation claims that many workers are trapped in a “revolving door” between low-paid, poor-quality work and unemployment, and have been particularly vulnerable to pay reductions and job losses during the recession.

The Welfare to What? Prospects and challenges for employment recovery report outlines the measures that policy makers need to take in order to tackle labour market challenges across the country.

Suggestions in the report include creating a focus on getting people into jobs of more than 16 hours a week and considering the potential role of local employers in helping disadvantaged groups to secure sustainable employment.

The Work Foundation also said that measures to combat in-work poverty should be used alongside the national minimum wage and working tax credits.

Naomi Clayton, lead author of the report, commented: “There is an urgent need for quality, lasting jobs that provide opportunities for development and progression. The regional and local divisions in jobs cannot be addressed without tackling the bottom 10 million.

“A balance must be struck between increasing individual mobility in order to widen access to job opportunities, while seeking to rebuild the economic base to increase the number, quality and sustainability of local jobs.”

Clayton added that in some areas, such as Blackpool, Grimsby and Hull, one-third of workers earn less than £7 per hour and that long-term sustainable regeneration will not be possible in these places without more, better-paid, jobs.

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