Real living wage raised early to help workers navigate cost of living crisis

Business

The voluntary real living wage has been raised earlier than usual to provide more financial support to hundreds of thousands of workers amid the cost of living crisis.

The Living Wage Foundation, which sets the hourly rates that employers can opt in to, said they would go up by £1 to £10.90 across the UK and by 90p to £11.95 in London.

The rates – which are independently calculated based on what people need to live on – are higher than the statutory £9.50 an hour for adults.

They are paid by more than 11,000 employers who have signed up to the scheme.

The foundation said 390,000 people would benefit, to the tune of almost £2,000 for a full-time worker.

The new rates, it also explained, were now worth £2,700 more per year to full-time workers in the UK than those on the national minimum wage and almost £5,000 more in London.

The increases take effect at a time when the pace of inflation is running at a 40-year high at just under 10%.

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The new outlook for inflation

The 10.1% hike in the UK real living wage rate represented the largest annual increase implemented, according to foundation director Katherine Chapman.

She said: “With living costs rising so rapidly, millions are facing an awful ‘heat or eat’ choice this winter – that’s why a real living wage is more vital than ever.

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“Today’s new rates will provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability during these incredibly difficult times.

“We are facing unprecedented challenges with the cost-of-living crisis, but businesses continue to step up and support workers by signing up to the Living Wage in record numbers.

“We know that the Living Wage is good for employers as well as workers, that’s why the real living wage must continue to be at the heart of solutions to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”

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The foundation said that the number of real living wage employers had more than doubled in the past two years, with major new names including the Royal Albert Hall, Aston University, and the ExCel Centre.

They join half of the FTSE 100 companies, including Aviva, Everton FC, Ikea, Burberry and Lush as well as thousands of small businesses.

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