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MILLIONS of people in Britain cannot afford a summer holiday despite working full-time, shocking new research has revealed.
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) analysis of data from Eurostat – the statistical office of the European Union – found that the number of workers in Britain with income below the poverty line was nearly 4.3 million.
Those not earning enough to reach the threshold – set at 60 per cent of national median income – are considered “at risk of real poverty” and are likely excluded from annual getaways.
The ETUC said that low minimum wage rates are to blame — the UK is one of 17 countries in Europe with base pay below the threshold.
Up to 35 million EU citizens also miss out on summer breaks, the international union body pointed out.
While access to holidays has grown over the last decade, most low-income families are left out. Overall, 28 per cent of EU citizens are unable to afford a week away, but that rises to nearly 60 per cent for people at risk of poverty, the ETUC said.
Italy has the highest number of people in this category with 7 million, followed by Spain (4.7m), Germany (4.3m), France (3.6m) and Poland (3.1m).
ETUC deputy general secretary Esther Lynch said the fact that most minimum-wage rates are knowingly set below the poverty line is scandalous, adding: “If someone works full-time, they shouldn’t be forced to choose between heating and eating.
“There is a need to test this threshold for adequacy against real prices, defined with trade unions and employers at a national level, so that minimum wages become real living wages.
“This must be coupled with measures to promote collective bargaining as this is the best way to end poverty wages.”
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