Six million jobs pay less than the living wage

28 September 2016
What was claimed

Six million people earn less than the living wage.

Our verdict

Six million jobs pay less than the living wage. That’s not the same as people. An estimated 5.4 million people earned below this level, according to earlier data.

What was claimed

In-work poverty is at record levels.

Our verdict

Correct. The proportion of individuals in poverty where at least one member of their family is in work is the highest recorded.

There are now six million working people earning less than the living wage...

Jeremy Corbyn, 28 September 2016

Six million jobs were paid less than the living wage in 2015. This isn’t the same as six million people, as some people have more than one job. Last year it was estimated that at least 5.4 million people were paid less than the living wage in 2014.

The living wage used at the time of the survey was £9.15 in London, and £7.85 in the rest of the UK, as calculated by the Greater London Authority and Loughborough University. These aren’t the same as the government’s new “National Living Wage”, which is lower, in place from April this year.

These are employment jobs, so don’t count the self-employed or people on a reduced rate, such as apprentices.

"...and poverty among those in work is at record levels."

There’s no single, preferred measure of poverty in the UK.

"Relative poverty"
Relative poverty is how we describe households who earn less than 60% of what the median household earns. The median household is the household in the middle when you line up households based on what they earn.

"Absolute poverty"
Absolute poverty is almost the same but households are compared to what the median household earned in 2010/11.

Around 50% of people thought to be living in relative poverty, before housing costs, had at least one member of their family in work. That’s the highest level since records began in 1997. Taking into account housing costs, this rises to 54%, also the highest level recorded.

The proportions for absolute poverty are also at record highs. 

The proportion of people who are living in poverty and in working families was increasing from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, but the trend then started to level out.

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