Highly paid employees in Wigan earn about £22,000 a year more than those on the bottom rungs of the salary ladder, figures reveal.
The Equality Trust says figures from the Office for National Statistics, which reveal a gap of nearly £25,000 between the UK’s highest and lowest earners, “paint a depressing picture of dangerous income inequality.”
In Wigan, the average weekly pay packet for the top 20 per cent of earners in full-time roles is now 2.2 times those in the bottom fifth – a gap of £21,939m and at least smaller than the national average.
The figures, for workers who live in the borough, use median, rather than mean, averages, to stop them being skewed by particularly small or large salaries.
They show the top 20 per cent of earners were paid £775 weekly on average, or £40,290 annually.
For low earners, weekly pay was just £353, which works out at £18,351 a year.
The average full-time employee in Wigan works 37.5 hours per week, with a median annual salary of £26,031.
The figures refer to basic pay and do not include bonuses or overtime.
The pay gap between Wigan’s highest and lowest earners compares quite strikingly with some other areas of the country.
Across the UK, the average annual salary for the top 20 per cent of earners is 2.2 times as high than the lowest earners.
Dr Wanda Wyporska, executive director of charity the Equality Trust, said: “Just like the gender pay gap, the gap between high and low paid workers is not shrinking fast enough.
“But this is an even greater scandal because the evidence shows that in countries with high levels of inequality, like the UK, there are higher levels of violent crime, physical and mental ill-health, infant mortality and lower levels of trust and educational attainment.
“By continuing to ignore inequality, decision makers are failing to truly realise the social and economic potential of this country.”