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Plaid pledges end to poverty pay as 1 in 4 earn less than living wage

At the start of Living Wage Week, Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams MP has reiterated his party's commitment to a genuine Living Wage that would secure a pay rise for more than 250,000 Welsh workers.

New figures published today (Monday) by the Living Wage Foundation shows that 24% of Welsh workers (approximately 261,000 people) earn less than the Living Wage. The worst performing regions are Conwy and Powys with 32% of employees on less than the Living Wage.

Mr Williams branded the UK's in-work poverty "a scandal" in one of the world's wealthiest countries and said that the Living Wage made economic sense due to the fact it would mean that workers are paid a proper wage to reflect their work, and will be able to live on what they earn.

Hywel Williams MP said:

"Plaid Cymru wants to see an end to poverty pay - that is why the Living Wage is one of our key pledges going in to next year's General Election.

"Currently the UK government subsidises big business to pay poverty wages, by setting the minimum wage too low and then topping them up with tax credits to enable people to afford basic provisions. The Living Wage makes sense on a social and economic level.

"1 in 4 Welsh workers earn less than the Living Wage. If the Living Wage became a legal requirement, over 250,000 Welsh workers would receive a pay rise. This in turn would ensure that they had more money in their pockets to spend in their local economies.

"Plaid Cymru's focus is a Welsh economic recovery driven by investment and job-creation with those jobs paying enough for people to live on. In-work poverty is a scandal which should not be blighting one of the world's richest nations.

"Contrast this with Labour's £8.00 per hour minimum wage by 2020 pledge - an annual rate of increase worse than that between 1999 and 2014 - and it is clear which party is standing up for Welsh workers.

"Contrary to the myths peddled by much of the media, the majority of people receiving benefits are actually in work. This is a damning reflection of successive Labour and Tory Government's failure to ensure that earnings aren't outstripped by the daily cost of living.

"A decent day's pay for an honest day's work - that is what Plaid Cymru believes in and that is what we will be fighting for between now and next May."