Around a quarter of a million workers across the West are paid less than the living wage, giving them less than what has been calculated as needed for a basic standard of living.
The living wage rate of £7.20 is voluntary, unlike the compulsory minimum wage, which £6.19 per hour for people aged over 21.
Figures from KPMG show 48,000 employees paid below the living wage in Somerset, and 41,000 in Gloucestershire. There are 33,000 in both Wiltshire and Bristol, 28,000 in Dorset, 20,000 in South Gloucestershire, 15,000 in Bath & North East Somerset and 14,000 in North Somerset.
It means 22 per cent of Somerset workers fall below the threshold, 20 per cent in B&NES – identical to the national figure – 19 per cent in Bristol, 18 per cent in Wiltshire, 17 per cent in Gloucestershire and Dorset and 16 per cent in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.