Top and bottom pay gap 'soars'

The gap between the pay of top earners and the lowest-paid has "soared" in parts of the country, revealing huge wage inequality, new research has shown.

A study by the TUC revealed that the pay gap had widened most in London and the South East
A study by the TUC revealed that the pay gap had widened most in London and the South East

A study by the TUC revealed that the pay gap had widened most in London and the South East, while only Wales and the South West had seen it reduce.

The union organisation said wage inequality had risen by 4.5% across the UK since 2000, and by 8.5% in London.

An analysis of official figures showed that between 2000 and 2013 the pay gap between the top 10% and the bottom 10% of earners in London rose by 14%.

A similar picture emerged in the South East and the Midlands.

The highest top earners were in London where they receive £82,000 a year, followed by those in the South East who are on £57,000 and the East of England where they earn about £52,000.

In contrast, an annual salary of about £46,000 puts workers in the top 10% of earners in Yorkshire and the Humber and £45,000 makes the top 10% in the North East.

Top earners in Wales are on about £43,000 a year, nearly half of what those in London are taking home.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This new analysis shows how wage inequality has soared in parts of the UK over the last decade. This growing pay gap is bad news for our economy and bad news for living standards.

"The picture is particularly bleak in London and the South East, but in areas like the Midlands, the North West and the East of England, a significant gulf has developed between top and bottom earners. Unless this trend stops now and more high-skilled jobs with decent pay are created, this worrying pattern is likely to become even more entrenched.

"Everyone must benefit from the recovery, not just those at the top. The TUC wants to see a greater commitment to pay the living wage from both government and employers, a crackdown on excessive executive pay, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum wages where employers can afford to pay more."

The TUC is holding a Fair Pay Fortnight from today as part of its campaign to raise awareness about low wages.