Bexhill and Battle top the list of living wage blackspots in the South East, with a third of jobs paying less than the living wage, according to new figures from the TUC.
TUC analysis of official figures from the House of Commons Library shows that nationally on average one in five jobs pays under the living wage – currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK – but in some parliamentary constituencies many more people working there earn less than this.
Across the UK, around five million people get paid less than the living wage.
Bexhill and Battle tops the list of living wage blackspots in the South East, with 34.5 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage.
This is followed by Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (32.6 per cent), Hastings and Rye (29 per cent), South Thanet (29 per cent) and North Thanet (27.7 per cent).
For working women the picture is even more bleak.
In Bexhill and Battle getting on for half (43.7 per cent) of jobs pay less than the living wage, followed by Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (34.4 per cent), Eastbourne (34.2 per cent), Sittingbourne and Sheppey (34 per cent) and South Thanet (33.8 per cent).
Southern and Eastern Region TUC Regional Secretary Megan Dobney said: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across the South East – and Britain as a whole.
“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times.
“Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it’s costing our economy dear.
“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it – but government must show equal initiative.
“We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more. During Fair Pay Fortnight we’re asking workers to back our call to MPs to get all political parties to put decent pay at the top of their agendas in the run up to the election.”