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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber Responds to Living Wage Figures

Chamber Chief Executive George CowcherNew figures released today show that at least two-thirds of all jobs in the East Midlands currently pay the Living Wage or higher.

Analysis of Government figures by the TUC shows that in some parts of the region, more than 85% of jobs pay at least £7.85-an-hour, which is the level at which the Living Wage is currently set for jobs outside London.

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the East Midlands Chamber, which represents businesses in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, said: “Far from being the negative story the TUC intended, these figures actually show that a significant majority of employees in the East Midlands are in receipt of at least the Living Wage, which means employers are recognising the benefit that better remuneration can bring to their organisation.

“In the worst case, Bolsover, 66.3% or two out of three workers are earning at least the Living Wage.

“In parts of Nottingham and Derby 85.7% of workers are paid the living wage or more. What that really means is that only one worker in six receives less than the Living Wage.

“In parts of Leicestershire, 82.2% of workers – fewer than one in five – are paid the Living Wage.

“Employees are any company’s biggest asset and it is in an employer’s best interest to ensure workers receive adequate reward for the job they do, but there is sometimes a balance to be found between pay levels and the number of people employed.

“Having a more productive workforce, for example, is one way of justifying higher wages and significant improvements can be made in this area by local businesses.

Figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics showed that productivity levels in the East Midlands are below the national average and lag well behind some of the more prosperous regions in London and the South East. It’s an issue which firms need to address.

“There is a danger that introducing legislation which forces employers to pay above current market rates could lead to a less flexible labour market and have an overall economic impact through rising prices to the end consumer or, in some cases, result in a preference for cheaper imports over domestic production.

“Paying the Living Wage instead of the Minimum Wage could be the difference between employing six people or seven, which could negatively impact on employment figures.”

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