Over a quarter of jobs in Northampton are paying less than the living wage, figures from a trades union suggest.
The TUC has based its study on figures from the House of Commons Library shows that almost 24 per cent of people in Northampton North are below the standard - currently £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of the country - and more than 29 per cent in Northampton South.
Former Northampton Borough Councillor Lee Barron, now Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, said: “Extending the living wage is a vital step towards tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty in parts of the East Midlands.
“Working families have experienced the biggest squeeze on their living standards since Victorian times, and these living wage figures show that women are disproportionately affected.”
The union said pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom.
Mr Barron said: “The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly.
“But we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage from Government, employers and modern wages councils – to drive up productivity and set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.”
In the East Midlands, Bolsover tops the list of living wage blackspots with 33.7 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage. This is followed by Mansfield (33.4 per cent), High Peak (32.8 per cent), Sleaford and North Hykeham (32.4 per cent) and Boston and Skegness (32.1 per cent).
In some parts of the East Midlands there are higher paying areas where workers fare better. In both Nottingham East and Derby South just 16.3 per cent of jobs pay less than the living wage, followed by South Leicestershire (17.8 per cent) and Nottingham North (18.4 per cent).
Michael Ellis, the Conservative MP for Northampton North said overall job figures in Northampton reflect well on Government policy.
JSA claimants are down 50 per cent in the last five year, with youth unemployment down 64 per cent.
He said: “This is politically-motivated spin by the trade unions, which is talking Northampton and our economy down.
“Ed Balls [the Labour shadow chancellor] said these are not real jobs, but in fact eighty five per cent of these new jobs created are full-time.
“They are wrong about that and wrong, wrong, wrong about the economy.”
Employees with hourly pay below the living wage, excluding overtime in April 2014
All 23.9 per cent
Full time 18.1 per cent
Part time 42.3 per cent
All 29.7 per cent
Full time 20.9 per cent
Part time 49.3 per cent