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People on low pay in the East struggling to find better work, report shows

PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 October 2017

Dr Dan Poulter speaking in the House of Commons

Dr Dan Poulter speaking in the House of Commons

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Only 18% of low-paid workers in the East of England managed to move on to better jobs in the last decade, new figures have revealed.

The research, conducted by the Resolution Foundation on behalf of the Social Mobility Commission, tracked wages from 2006 to 2016 and categorised people into three groups: stuck, cycler and escapers.

Those who are stuck made no progress in getting out of low-paid jobs, cyclers moved back and forth while escapers managed to gain employment in higher-paid roles and keep them for three of more years.

More than a quarter (27%) of people in the East of England on low pay in 2006 remain so today while 55% were classed as cyclers.

The report also found that hourly rates rose by just 40p in real terms for those working in the lowest paid jobs and that women are more likely than men to get stuck in jobs with few prospects. Low pay was classified as £8.25 per hour.

Dr Dan Poulter said: “Firstly it is important to recognise that the level of unemployment in this part of the world is falling. In my constituency the level of young people without work is now under 100 now.

“And some of the methods we have used to tackle unemployment can also help with social mobility. The number of apprenticeships, for example, that are now offered is very pleasing. This includes opportunities for young people as well as those who are older.

“We are also forging links between colleges and work places here in Suffolk which I am sure will prove very successful.

“I think some of the explanation for these figures will be part-time workers. Often those people who work part-time are not offered the same chances for development within their careers as other employees – this must be addressed.

“I also think the increase in free nursery hours for parents could make a huge difference in allowing people to work more hours.”

Alan Milburn, chairman of the Social Mobility Commission, said: “Britain has an endemic low-pay problem. While record numbers of people are in employment, too many jobs are low skill and low paid. Millions of workers – particularly women – are being trapped in low pay with little chance of escape. The consequences for social mobility are dire.

“Government should join forces with employers in a new national effort to improve progression and productivity at work.”

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