AN OXFORD MP has criticised Oxford Brookes University following revelations that it pays nearly 700 staff less than a living wage.

According to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, 699 employees are not paid £8.75 an hour – the rate deemed necessary to live on.

Anneliese Dodds, the MP for Oxford East, said: “I am disappointed that up to 700 employees at Oxford Brookes do not get paid the living wage, and hope that steps are being taken to address this by the university’s leadership.”

There is some dispute over what constitutes a ‘living wage’: the government introduced a ‘national living wage’ in 2016, which now stands at £7.83 an hour for over-25s. However, the Living Wage Foundation calculates that £8.75 is required to pay for life’s essentials outside of London.

There is also an ‘Oxford Living Wage’, which the city council calculates as being £9.69 an hour.

Ms Dodds, who urged employers across the city to pay the Oxford rate, continued: “It is not only fair that employees earn a wage that meets the high cost of living in Oxford, but evidence from the Living Wage Foundation shows that paying a living wage increases the retention and motivation of employees. Fair pay is good for society and good for business.”

The bulk of Brookes' 699 staff getting less than a living wage are 555 student ambassadors, who have no regular hours and are paid £7.99 an hour.

‘Less than five’ first aiders are paid £8.73 an hour and also have no regular hours. They are paid the same as eight ‘paper fillers’.

The vice-chancellor is paid close to £250,000 a year.

Of the 699 staff, only 23 – 31 have regular hours. Where there are one to five people working in a particular job, the university does not specify the exact number to avoid identifying individuals.

Of those with regular hours, 16 interns are paid £8.31 an hour for a 37-hour week.

A Brookes spokesperson said: “The university pays all of its employees at least the National Living Wage.

"The vast majority of those staff who are paid an hourly rate between the National Living Wage and the voluntary rate set by the Living Wage Foundation are students employed on a casual basis, often to fit around studies and other work commitments.

“The university will continue to keep this approach under review.”

Oxford City Council leader Susan Brown said: “The high cost of living means that we have set our own Oxford Living Wage, [95% of the London Living Wage].

"We are working with local partners and the Living Wage Foundation to understand local barriers to fair pay, and promote Oxford as a Living Wage City.”