payWhitehall cleaners living on the breadline have launched a campaign for a pay rise by writing personal letters to 10 Cabinet ministers.

The contract staff, who earn as little as £6.32 an hour, have written to ministers including David Cameron and Nick Clegg asking to be paid the London Living Wage of £8.55 an hour.

It comes after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith agreed to pay 500 cleaners and catering staff the higher hourly rate after they left a letter on his desk asking for a meeting.

In their latest letter, the cleaners wrote: “We work hard to keep the offices of Government clean but we are paid less than it costs to live.

“This means we have to make painful sacrifices like not spending time with our children because we take two buses and can’t afford to take the Tube.”

The letters, signed by 35 Whitehall cleaners and some civil servants, were delivered to departments including the Treasury, Home Office, Foreign Office, Health and Education.

The cleaners told ministers that their responses would be reflected in a Whitehall low-pay league table compiled by London Citizens, which is supporting the campaign, and published on July 17.

The DWP, Treasury and House of Commons are currently near the top of the league because they have either implemented the Living Wage, committed to do so in the near future, or are very close to doing so. The Department of Health, which pays cleaners just 13p more than the minimum wage, and the Department of Business, which pays 27p more, are near the bottom.

The Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission found last week that 84 per cent of the public believe that employers should pay wages that reflect the cost of living.