THE BLOG

In-Work Poverty Is Something We Must Do Our Utmost to Eradicate

26/11/2014 23:35 GMT | Updated 26/01/2015 10:59 GMT

The latest research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that there are record numbers of working families in poverty due to low pay. Let me put this clearly:

It is a disgrace that we allow this to happen; work should always pay.

The UK is the sixth largest economy in the world by GDP. London is booming and is the pick of Europe for the headquarters of some of the world's biggest companies. The housing market is attracting record levels of foreign investment and is contributing the country's economic recovery (although the impact on Londoners is far from good). Those in power never cease to remind us of these facts and how the #longtermeconomicplan is working.

In that context it is simply unacceptable to see how many people are being trapped by low pay. According to the latest figures, only 20 percent of those trapped on low wages are able to move to better paid jobs in the last decade, and incomes among the lowest paid have dropped almost 10 percent in real terms. Average wages for men working full-time have dropped from £13.90 to £12.90 an hour in real terms between 2008 and 2013 and for women from £10.80 to £10.30.

That's bad enough for the country but an even more frightening picture emerges when you consider that London is the most expensive city on the planet. Rising house prices, rising food prices and wages going down for those who find it the hardest to make ends meet. This is not the city I want and this is not the city Londoners deserve.

That's why the next London Mayor needs to tackle the growing affordability crisis head on. We can shout about how great London is (and it really is great, if you are lucky enough to be able to can afford it) but we need to make sure that those at the bottom are being treated fairly and with dignity and that means fair pay; that means a living wage; that means creating opportunities for Londoners to get the best jobs they can and know that they can work towards a better future for themselves and their families.

Rising in-work poverty is a blight on this country; it's an insult to those who work day in, day out for a better future and an insult to London. It is something we must do our utmost to eradicate. No ifs. No buts.