MORE than a quarter of working women in East Lancashire are struggling on pay which is lower than a ‘living wage’.

Figures released by the TUC show a high proportion of men earning no more than a few pounds an hour. However significantly more women are underpaid, according to the statistics.

In Blackburn, 19.5 per cent of men and 26.7 per cent of women are struggling to earn the living wage of £7.65 which councils and businesses are trying to adopt.

The problem affects 27 per cent of male employees to 35 per cent of women in Hyndburn, while in Rossendale and Darwen, 29 per cent of men are underpaid and 35 per cent of women.

A more level picture is evident in Burnley where 24 per cent of all employees are underpaid, with men and women equally affected.

The East Lancashire parliamentary constitu-encies feature on a list of low wage ‘blackspots’ compiled by the union which is campaigning for the £7.65 living wage.

Its analysis of official figures from the House of Commons Library shows that nationally, on average, one in five jobs pays under the ‘living wage’ – currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK.

North west TUC regional secretary Lynn Collins said: “The figures are a cause for concern.

“Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty.”

In 2012, Hyndburn Council adopted a living wage for workers and last year Lancashire County Council did so too.

The national minimum wage is to increase by 19p an hour to £6.50 later this year, giving more than a million workers a pay rise.

The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up by 10p to £5.13 an hour.