One in five workers in the UK are paid less than the ‘living wage’, new research from accountancy firm KPMG has revealed.

Some 4.82 million people earn less than the voluntary living wage of £8.30 in London and £7.20 outside the capital – levels designed to enable workers to afford a basic standard of living.

Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of people earning below the living wage at 24 per cent, closely followed by Wales at 23 per cent, according to the study from the accountancy firm.

The lowest proportion of sub-living wage earners were found in London and the south-east, both at 16 per cent.

But taking into account results by volume, the greatest number of people receiving less than the living wage lived in London and the north-west (570,000 each) and the south-east (530,000), said KPMG.

Bar staff were most likely to earn below the living wage (90 per cent), followed by waiters and waitresses (85 per cent). But the greatest number of low earners fell in to the sales and retail assistants category (780,000).

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