Pandemic has hit the lowest paid the hardest

February 1st 2021

Pandemic has hit the lowest paid the hardest

February 1st 2021

Commenting on the new TUC research, STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said:

“The TUC study confirms what we have been hearing from union reps across Scotland. The lower paid are suffering most. The proportion of workers on Furlough is highest amongst those in customer facing jobs who cannot work from home, such as those in hospitality, the culture sector and parts of retail. These are the minimum wage workers who were already living pay cheque to pay cheque and are now losing up to the £300 per month.

“It is critical that the Furlough scheme and support for the self-employed is extended and we need that announcement soon. Every time that the Chancellor has dithered over continuing the scheme, thousands of jobs have been lost. From here on, the Furlough scheme must guarantee at least the minimum wage for all workers.”

ENDS

Notes

Low-paid workers are most likely to have lost income and increased their debt as a result of the coronavirus crisis, research suggests.

The TUC said its study indicated that half of workers on low pay have suffered a loss in income during the pandemic, compared with 29% of high earners. The union organisation said its findings showed the need for a "workers' budget" and an extension of the job retention scheme to the end of 2021.

A survey of more than 2,200 adults found that almost two in five said their household had suffered a reduction in disposable income since the pandemic began. This rises to half for workers with annual earnings below £15,000, while it is fewer than a third for those earning more than £50,000, said the TUC.

The lowest earners are also the most likely to have had to reduce spending and take on debt, according to the report. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "When a crisis hits, the most exposed should get the most protection, but many low-paid workers are struggling through the pandemic on less money and with higher costs, and they are falling into deeper poverty and debt.

"The Chancellor should help by extending furlough to the end of the year, with a guarantee that support will never be less than minimum wage, and last year's boost to Universal Credit should be kept - permanently. "Many of these low earners are key workers who have kept our country going. We owe it to them to build a fairer economy after the pandemic.

"The Chancellor should give Britain a workers' budget next month. It should be a plan for full employment, with decent pay and job security for every worker."

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