ONE-FIFTH of the borough’s workers live in "work poverty", a new report has claimed.

Workers’ union collective TUC has published figures that show 20 per cent of people working in north Bury and 21.7 per cent in south Bury earn less than £7.65 an hour — regarded as less than the basic cost of living.

The figure is even higher — at 44.1 per cent — for the borough’s part-time workers.

The statistics also show 23.3 per cent of women working in north Bury earn less than the living wage compared with 28.2 per cent in south Bury.

There were no breakdowns for male workers in the borough.

Last Friday, the TUC hosted a living wage summit in Newcastle to the discuss the issue with MPs and town hall bosses. The TUC’s North West secretary Lynn Collins said: “The figures are a cause for concern.

“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. The squeeze on pay is hurting individuals and hurting families.

“Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain and we believe more can be done to move people out of what are essentially poverty wages.”

Last year, TUC said 571,000 people were paid less than the living wage, and argued that paying them more than £7.65 an hour would boost the economy by £347 million through higher tax revenues and lower benefit payments.

Christian Spence, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s head of business intelligence, said: “A number of local authorities in Greater Manchester are beginning to implement the living wage, and while this will make a significant difference for those employees who receive it, local authorities must also balance their responsibilities to the wider electorate and business community of running a financially efficient budget.

“Our own research shows our members are supportive of an at least inflationary increase in the minimum wage and that, as the labour market continues to strengthen over the coming months, we expect the coming pay rounds to begin to deliver real terms increases for employees once again.”