Frank Field MP
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600,000 North West workers are paid poverty wages


It was announced on Monday that one in four workers here in the North West – 600,000 in all – are paid poverty wages that fail to cover the cost of living.

The proportion is probably higher in Birkenhead where people work hard and yet struggle to make ends meet.

Clearly something very troubling is happening at the bottom of our labour market. Can it be fair that someone who does the right thing and works hard is faced with the dilemma of whether to eat or put on the heating?

Is it fair also that taxpayers are left to foot the bill for subsidising low wages through the tax credits system, to the tune of billions of pounds?

Our two biggest football clubs – Liverpool and Everton – are in a prime position to lead by example in the fight back against poverty wages. Both clubs are making mega profits and pay huge sums to their top players.

I recently wrote to each of them asking whether their contract cleaners, caterers and security guards were paid a Living Wage. I was appalled to find that neither club makes sure these employees, who perform vital jobs, are paid enough to live on.

So I am joining with the North West TUC to ask both clubs this week whether they will commit to making sure all their contractors pay their staff at least a Living Wage.

I also secured a recent commitment from Labour; if we win next year’s election, we will ask those industries that can afford to pay a higher minimum wage, to do so.

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