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Cost of Living crisis: The real Living Wage has never been more important

We are living in unprecedented times with inflation at a 40-year high and spiralling energy and food bills. The worst income squeeze on record lies before us and no one will feel it more sharply than the nearly 5m people in low paid and insecure jobs, already struggling to meet their everyday needs.


In these difficult times, our commitment to the real Living Wage is more important than ever.


Today, the government’s ‘National Living Wage’ rises to £9.50 per hour for over 23s bringing a necessary pay boost for hundreds of thousands of low paid workers. Yet it is important to underline that the real Living Wage remains the only rate calculated annually based on what it costs to live in the UK and London. Someone who earns the real Living Wage will earn around £800 more per year in the UK and over £3,000 a year in London compared to the minimum wage.


The real Living Wage calculation not only accounts for food, bills, rent, but also those extras needed for a decent life and to fully participate in society, for example a school uniform or postage to send a birthday card. The methodology draws on the Minimum Income Standard’s basket of goods to identify these everyday living costs, factoring in different household types and taxes and benefits.

The new rates will be calculated in the autumn and will take into account rising costs. Calculating the rates annually ensures that the rates don’t fluctuate with short term spikes in price rises and are practical to implement. The process is overseen by the independent Living Wage Commission comprising Living Wage Employers, civil society representatives and labour market experts who ensure that the rates are fully representative of life in the UK today, are based on the best available data and are an attainable benchmark.


The real Living Wage is a baseline for what’s needed to live a decent and dignified life.


Content kindly supplied by Kaherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation