One in eight workers struggle to afford food, finds TUC survey
Report released before annual congress exposes in-work poverty, with people skimping on food and heating despite having jobs.
Stagnant wages are forcing one in eight workers to skip meals to make ends meet, according to a study.
A survey of more than 3,200 workers for the Trades Union Congress also found almost half are worried about meeting basic household expenses such as food, transport and energy. The poll, conducted by GQR, also found that one in six workers have left the heating off when it was cold to save on energy bills, while a similar number have pawned possessions in the last year because they were short of money.
It has been released three days before the TUC’s annual conference in Brighton, which is expected to focus on Brexit, workers’ rights and in-work poverty.
Theresa May has struggled to fight off accusations that she has abandoned pledges to support those who are “just about managing”.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was praised on Wednesday for raising in-work poverty during prime minister’s questions in parliament.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “When you come home from a long day at work, you shouldn’t have to worry whether you can afford to eat. Having a job should provide you with a decent life, but it’s not even covering the basics for many.
“Ten years on from the crash, working families are on a financial cliff edge. Pay packets are worth less and less, but bills keep rising and personal debt is at crisis levels. The government’s inaction must not last. Ministers can raise wages by scrapping public sector pay restrictions, investing to create great jobs across the country and increasing the minimum wage.”
GQR Research conducted the online poll of 3,287 respondents in work in Britain, during 11-22 August.
TUC research published this year showed that shrinking pay packets are forcing workers to take on more personal debt.
A Treasury spokesman said: “We want to support working families and help them keep more of what they earn. That’s why we are cutting taxes for 30 million people and increasing the ‘national living wage’, worth an extra £1,400 in people’s pockets.”
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