The Think Tank IPPR North has called on Metro Mayors, councils and leaders across the North to join forces to create a “Living Wage North”, so that no one is paid less than the real living wage by 2025, to tackle a “job quality crisis”.
It is a crisis which means that 1.6 million northerners are paid less than the real living wage, the amount independently calculated as what families need to get by. In fact, average weekly pay has fallen by £21 since over the last decade – a larger drop than the national average.
In a report published today by IPPR North, researchers have shown how local authorities and Metro Mayors can use their powers to make a difference to the quality of work in their own local economies, such as commissioning for a living wage.
They can go on to build a Living Wage North by making the living wage a requirement of their procurement, as well as implementing employment charters and prioritising low-pay sectors in local industrial strategies.
IPPR North highlighted places where action is already being taken to create “decent work”. For example, the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Regions are working on employment charters to promote decent work amongst employers, and Salford already has its own. Researchers say that they could feed into the creation of a ‘Northern Employment Charter’, developed by leaders across the region as part of a strategy to make the North a Living Wage Region within 6 years.
Report author and Researcher at IPPR North Marcus Johns said:
“People in the North are experiencing a job quality crisis. That 1 in 4 Northerners are paid less than the real living wage is nothing short of a scandal.
“Ten years of austerity has made it hard for local authorities to act. Of course government should increase funding to local government; but there are steps that local authorities can take to improve the quality of work, as some are already showing.
“The next phase of the Northern Powerhouse should prioritise economic justice. We need to build a North that works in the interests of all people and places, not just profit. The first step is for leaders across our region to work together to ensure that Northerners have access to decent work”.