OVER 300,000 PEOPLE working for almost 9,000 real Living Wage Employers throughout the country will receive a pay boost as real Living Wage rates rise to £9.90 across the UK, and £11.05 in London. 

Unlike the Government minimum wage (‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s – £8.91 rising to £9.50 in April), the real Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on rising living costs. A full-time worker earning the new, real Living Wage would earn £1,930 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum.

New research by the Living Wage Foundation demonstrates the scale of low pay in the UK, with one in six workers earning less than the real Living Wage. This equates to 17.1 per cent of all employee jobs and a total of 4.8 million.

The report shows that jobs held by women, racialised groups and part-time workers are most likely to pay below the real Living Wage.

  • On gender equality, the proportion of female employees earning less than the real Living Wage (20.4 per cent) is significantly higher compared to men (13.9 per cent). Jobs held by women account for 60 per cent of all jobs paid below the real Living Wage, 2.9 million in total.
  • Part-time workers (33.2 per cent) are more likely to earn below the Living Wage than full-time workers (11.0 per cent)
  • Low pay disproportionately affects workers from racialised groups. These workers (19.4 per cent) are more likely to earn below the real Living Wage than white workers (16.3 per cent)

Commenting on the finding that one in six workers are earning under the real Living Wage, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living. But these new figures from the Living Wage Foundation show that low pay is endemic in modern Britain. Millions are in jobs that don’t pay the bills or put food on the table.

“After eleven years of Conservative government, real wages are only just getting back to their 2009 level. And the Budget revealed we face another half decade of wage stagnation. With Britain in the middle of a cost-of-living crunch, it’s time for the government to act.

“Ministers must start by increasing the minimum wage to £10 immediately, banning zero hours contracts and giving trade unions greater access to workplaces to negotiate improved pay and conditions. That‘s how we get wages rising for everyone.”

Meanwhile, new research from the Cardiff Business School shows that Living Wage workers in Scotland have benefitted from more than £310m in extra wages since the start of the Living Wage employer movement in 2001.

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland’s manager, said: “Record numbers of Scottish employers have joined the Living Wage movement in the past 18 months, because they recognise that committing to a wage that covers everyday needs is a necessary and sensible investment in their workforce. 

“During Living Wage Week, it’s important to highlight those employers that have done right by workers and families, providing them with much needed security and stability even when times are hard. We hope to see even more employers commit to the real Living Wage, to support more workers to keep their heads above water as costs rise”.  

* Read Employee Jobs Paid Below The Living Wage: 2021 here.

Sources: Living Wage Foundation, Living Wage Scotland, and the Trades Union Congress