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UK Gov't: 'We encourage employers to pay more'

We encourage employers to pay above the national minimum wage when they are profitable and when it's not at expense of jobs, which is what the Low Pay Commission takes into consideration when it sets the National Minimum Wage.

Despite being in tough times, this Government is doing absolutely everything it can to help people on low pay with the cost of living.

That's why we're taking two million people out of tax altogether, cutting income tax for those on low incomes and freezing council tax.

– UK Government, Department for Business

CBI: Businesses can't afford to pay 'living wage'

The minimum wage acts as a floor on pay, protecting workers while ensuring job creation for the unemployed continues.

The living wage must remain an aspiration that helps some firms pay more, but many companies simply can't afford it. Moving away from a voluntary approach would undoubtedly damage our unemployment rate.

The best way to boost wage growth in the longer term is to build a sustainable recovery and invest in the productivity growth that will boost wages.

– Confederation of British Industry, Wales

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Campaign to pay staff minimum of £7.45 an hour

Retailers are being asked to pay their staff a 'living wage' of £7.45 a hour. Credit: PA

Around 285,000 working people in Wales would be better off if their employers paid a 'living wage' of £7.45 an hour says the TUC Wales.

The minimum wage for over 21s outside of London is currently £6.31.

The union says if every worker in Wales was paid a 'living wage' the UK Government would save £154 million through reduced spending on benefits and a boost in taxes.

Welsh employers are being told that low wages weaken the Welsh economy and leave working families in poverty.

Only 14 employers in Wales have signed up to the Living Wage and pay their staff a minimum of £7.45 - they include housing associations, Cardiff and Caerphilly Councils and the Welsh Government which employs 5,500 people.

Wales TUC President, David Evans said, "Some large companies are getting away with underpaying their staff as means tested benefits and tax credits top up incomes. Good employers continue to be undercut by bad ones and now more than ever, workers across Wales need a pay rise."

City Hall workers in London were told this week they would get a 'Living Wage'. Credit: PA

Earlier this week Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced that council staff at City Hall in London would get the Living Wage.

Johnson said the new rate will be worth £4.5m a year for lower-paid workers.

Bedroom tax: One in three council tenants in arrears

Over a third of council tenants affected by the bedroom tax in areas of Wales have fallen behind on their rent, according to figures released by the TUC today.

Figures obtained by the False Economy campaign reveal across Britain over 50,000 council housing tenants have fallen behind on their rent since the reform was introduced in April – nearly a third of all tenants affected by the tax in the 114 local authorities that provided data.

However in some parts of Wales, the proportion of council housing tenants in arrears has been far higher.

In Wrexham and Anglesey, almost half of all council house tenants (44%) affected by the bedroom tax have been pushed into arrears since April.

In Swansea, 38% of tenants in the city affected by the tax have fallen behind on their rent and in Cardiff, 616 families have experienced difficulties.

Wales TUC has welcomed the Welsh Government’s Smaller Properties Programme announced in August which provided £20 million in funding to help with the provision of smaller affordable homes.

Reacting to the figures Wales TUC National Officer, Julie Cook said,

“Today’s depressing news provides further proof that the Bedroom Tax is pushing families into complete despair. Disabled people who need space for their carers and families, and who have nowhere else to move, are being put at risk of debt and homelessness by the tax."

What does the wage fall mean to your pocket?

Workers in Wales have seen their weekly pay packet fall by an average of £32.36 between 2007 and 2012 - a greater drop in wages than any other part of the UK.

The following figures are for full-time employees, working a 40-hour week, after taking inflation into account:

  • Workers in Wales were paid £32.36 less per week (in 2012, compared to 2007)
  • Workers in England were paid £30.62 less per week
  • Workers in Scotland were paid £21.54 less per week
  • Workers in Northern Ireland were paid £24.47 less per week
  • Men in Wales were paid £33.65 less per week
  • Women in Wales were paid £18.83 less per week
  • Flintshire has seen the biggest fall in wages - workers were paid £57 less per week
  • Merthyr Tydfil is the only area where wages are up - workers were paid £0.34 more per week

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Families experiencing 'huge squeeze' on incomes

The TUC says families in Wales are experiencing "a huge squeeze" on their incomes.

Its research, published today, shows wages here have fallen by 7.3 per cent since 2007.

Families are still really struggling to make their money go far enough - and are often having to go into debt - as they experience a huge squeeze on their household incomes.

With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards or their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items.

Workers' real hourly pay rates have taken a hit over the past five years because wages have failed to keep up with inflation. But this fall is also a result of the worrying increase in insecure and short-hours employment.

And in many cases when people have lost their jobs, and are fortunate enough to find work, they are forced to take jobs with fewer hours and on lower rates of pay. This is not the way to build a strong economy - the UK needs far more better jobs on much better rates of pay.

– Martin Mansfield, Wales TUC General Secretary

Average pay in Wales down 7.3 per cent since 2007

Wages in Wales have fallen by 7.3 per cent since 2007, according to research published today by the TUC. That's worse than the UK-wide average drop of 6.3 per cent. Across Wales and the UK as a whole, men have seen their pay squeezed harder than women.

The figures compiled by the TUC show that - after taking inflation into account - weekly pay packets in Wales have fallen by an average of £32.36 since 2007.

Flintshire is the hardest hit county in Wales, where average hourly pay has fallen from £11.75 in 2007 to £10.31 last year - a 12.2 per cent real terms drop.

Shrinking wages 'hitting' living standards

Over the last five years, workers in Wales have taken a massive hit in their pay packets, while thousands more have had to reduce their hours or take lower paid work. Many people have lost their jobs altogether.

Taken together, our pay and jobs crises have shrunk Britain's total annual pay packet by more than £50bn, with workers in Wales losing £2.3 billion altogether. It's no wonder businesses are struggling when so much demand has been sucked out of the economy.

Shrinking wages are hitting people's living standards, holding back businesses and damaging our growth prospects.

– Martin Mansfield, Wales TUC General Secretary
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