SHEILA Marsh, a member of the local Labour Party, claims that 31 per cent of the county’s jobs “pay less than the living wage”, and that “4,300 children in the county live in poverty” (Letters, February 15).

Both of these claims need context. Dr Marsh uses the term “the living wage” when in fact what she seems to be referring to is the so-called real living wage, which is higher than the Government’s minimum living wage, currently set at £10.40 an hour, and due to go up to £11.44 in April.

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The other living wage is a concept devised by a small group of academics (including at least one who is a member of Marsh’s Party) at Loughborough University. It is difficult to believe that 31 per cent of workers get less than the legal minimum wage for full-time workers aged over 22.

As regards the figure for number of children living in poverty in the county, the number Dr Marsh quotes relates to 14 per cent of the children in the county, as opposed to the national rate of 16 per cent in the same period.


St Leonards-on-Sea