Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is backing a campaign for more North East businesses to pay employers a real Living Wage.
Research by the campaigning organisation the Living Wage Foundation revealed that one in four North East jobs pay below the voluntary rate of £9 an hour.
The real Living Wage is independently calculated based on what people need to live. It is £1.17 an hour higher than the statutory National Living Wage of £7.83 an hour while the Minimum Wage is £7.38.
Mr Hill said: “While 4,700 UK businesses voluntarily pay the [real] Living Wage rate, there are only 89 in the North East and one in four jobs are paid below it.
“I know that there is a lot of uncertainty out there amongst business people around Brexit and our region has been particularly hit hard by Government austerity and lack of meaningful investment, but it’s not called a ‘living wage’ for nothing.
“The rate calculated by the foundation is based on an analysis of the cost of living and on what people need to get by. A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”
Research claims there are 1.2 million more jobs paying below the Living Wage since 2012.
The Living Wage Foundation wants councils, universities, football clubs, bus companies and the other major employers in every city to commit to become real Living Wage employers.
It has the backing of metro mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, and Sheffield City Region, as well as household names like Ikea, Aviva, Nationwide and Google.
Living Wage Foundation director Tess Lanning said: “The Living Wage campaign is about tackling the rising problem of people paid less than they need to live.
“Responsible businesses know that the government minimum is not enough to live on, and today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a boost for hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the UK. Employers that pay the real Living Wage enable their workers to live a life of dignity, supporting them to pay off debts and meet the pressures of rising bills.”