Mike Kelly, director and Head of Living Wage at KPMG, reacts to the Department for Work and Pensions’ Households Below Average Income (HBAI) report released today. He said:
“It is welcome news that the number of people in relative poverty has fallen but it’s clear more can be done to help the working population. Delving into the numbers, it seems that the working-age adult in both relative and absolute low income has not shifted much since 1999 as the figures published today indicate a drop of just 2 percent. Yet, in real-terms, factoring in a population increase, it is possible to suggest that the figure has stayed the same, at just over 14 million people.
“The report highlights why paying a living wage is so important. With median real incomes unchanged, the standard of living for the working population will clearly struggle to make ends meet, caught between holding down a job yet not being paid enough to live on.
“This is the perfect opportunity for employers to consider whether they can join the growing list of businesses paying a Living Wage – with Nestle and Canary Wharf Group becoming the most recent accredited firms. It may not be possible or practical for everyone, but all organisations need to do what they can to address the problem of low pay. Of course, change cannot happen instantly, but making an initial assessment is an important first step.
“Business and government need to work together so that the trap of ‘working poverty’ can be broken. It’s time to take responsibility to ensure that staff and suppliers receive a fair wage.”
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Nahidur Rahman, KPMG Press Office
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.