Millions of Britons are in jobs so poorly paid they have little if anything left to spend after their basic needs have been met.
A new report by the Resolution Foundation has found that more than five million workers are now in low-paid work, badly denting any hopes or promises of an economic recovery driven by consumer spending.
Although the Government has attempted to increase the "real value of the minimum wage" by taking lower earners out of income tax, critics warn that more needs to be done to prevent millions of Britons living the rest of their lives in poverty.
Once in a low-paid job, it can be hard, if not nigh-on impossible, to get higher paid work.
Without a new approach it’s quite likely that the overwhelming majority of the five million workers currently in low-paid work will still be stuck there a decade from now.
- Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary
Britain also ranks poorly compared to other countries with similar economies. Workers here are more likely to be low paid than those in Germany or Australia, twice as likely to be low paid as those in Switzerland and four times more likely than those in Belgium.
Low-paid work is defined as less than two-thirds of the median hourly pay. That equates to £7.69.