What may seem like poverty pay to a Guardian reader need not be so for a worker in Bangladesh (Revealed: the poverty pay behind the charity slogan, 21 January). A pound is worth roughly a hundred taka, so 35p is 35 taka. If someone works 40 hours a week, she would make £14 a week. The per capita income of Bangladesh is £1,400 (£3,650 in purchasing power parity). If she were employed for 50 weeks she would make up to half the per capita income – not rich, but not poor by local poverty standards.
Wages in Bangladesh are not determined by Comic Relief but by average productivity of labour. Bangladesh could use the employment provided by Comic Relief. If the “radical anger” of Guardian readers leads to cancellation of the contract, the Guardian readers may be happy, but not the Bangladeshi workers.
Wages in Bangladesh will take another 50 years to catch up with the UK. The economy is growing healthily. It can grow because its low wage attracts orders and helps exports. Leave it alone to grow.
Labour, House of Lords