Sunderland MP demands employers to declare how many staff are paid less than living wage

MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, Bridget Phillipson.
MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, Bridget Phillipson.
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EMPLOYERS should be forced to make public how many of their staff are paid less than the living wage, according to a city MP.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson has sponsored a bill in the House of Commons that will require companies to publish annual reports on the percentage of their staff being paid less than the income deemed necessary to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living.

Low pay is making life impossible for millions across the county

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson

The bill was tabled in the House of Commons earlier this month by Lewisham MP Heidi Alexander and is due for a second reading this Friday.

As previously reported in the Echo, the TUC published resreach earlier this week revealing that one in five jobs now pays less than the living wage of £9.15 in London and £7.85 in the rest of the UK.

“Low pay is making life impossible for millions across the county,” Ms Phillipson said.

“This is the first Parliament since the 1920s in which people will be worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

“In my constituency of Houghton and Sunderland South over a fifth of full-time workers are not being paid a subsistence wage.

“The situation for part-time workers is much worse, with over 40 per cent on low pay.

“These are people who work hard and do the right thing but still do not earn enough to provide for themselves and their families.”

Ms Phillipson said the publication of annual reports on listed companies paying less than the living wage will end the culture of silence around low wages and prevent large companies pursuing profit at the expense of their workers and the taxpayer.

She added: “I sponsored Heidi Alexander MP’s Living Wage (Reporting) Bill because I think the millions of people across the country on low wages and British taxpayers deserve to know which companies pay their employees a fair wage.

“It is currently very difficult for the public to know which companies are doing the right thing. This bill will bring much needed transparency and put pressure on large employers to change their ways.

“It is time for big companies to take this issue seriously – those that can afford to pay their employees a Living Wage should do so.”