The pay gap between the richest and poorest earners has "soared" in many parts of the country since 2000, new research by the Trades Union Congress has shown.
The rise in income inequality is largest in London, with the pay gap rising by 14% between the richest 10% and poorest 10% of earners. The change has sparked renewed calls by the TUC for employers to commit to paying staff the living wage, the level of pay currently set at £7.65 per hour which is deemed necessary for a sufficient standard of living.
The research, carried out using official figures from the Office for National Statistics, found that the highest 10% of earners in London receive £82,000 a year on average, followed by those in the South East who are on £57,000 and the East of England where they earn about £52,000.
By contrast, an annual salary of about £46,000 puts workers in the top 10% of earners in Yorkshire and the Humber and £45,000 makes the top 10% in the North East. Meanwhile in Wales, the top earners get the least, just £43,000 a year, nearly half what those in London are taking home.
The poorest 10% of workers are on less than £18,000 a year, less than £15,400 in the South East and less than £14,800 per annum in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady blogged on HuffPostUK: “We need to tackle poverty pay, with higher wages in sectors that can well afford to pay more, as well as more employers paying a living wage. But the increasingly squeezed middle also need policymakers and employers to create more high-quality jobs to boost productivity and raise people's living standards. People need more money in their pockets if local economies are to thrive.
Unless we take action, this pay gap will only grow, and only those right at the top will benefit from the recovery. Britain needs to reverse the trend and move back towards fair pay for everyone. An economy that works for the majority will be an economy that works better, full stop."