‘Real living wage’ tops £11 an hour in London as 300,000 get pay rise

The rate is rising to £9.90 an hour in the rest of the UK (Picture: Getty)

The ‘real’ living wage will top £11 an hour in London from Monday, when 300,000 people across the UK can expect for a pay rise.

An updated hourly rate, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), comes into effect this morning and now stands at £9.90 in the UK and £11.05 in London – increases of 40p and 20p respectively.

The LWF says some 4.8 million people around the country – disproportionately including those from ‘racialised’ group – are paid less than its recommended salary, which is different to the Government’s ‘national living wage’.

That figure will rise to £9.50 an hour in for over 23s in April, but the current £8.91 rate is worth some £1,930 a year less than the new ‘real’ living wage for a full-time worker.

The Foundation’s director Katherine Chapman said: ‘With living costs rising so rapidly, today’s new living wage rates will provide hundreds of thousands of workers and their families with greater security and stability.

‘For the past 20 years, the living wage movement has shaped the debate on low pay, showing what is possible when responsible employers step up and provide a wage that delivers dignity.’

She continued: ‘Despite this, there are still millions trapped in working poverty, struggling to keep their heads above water – and these are people working in jobs that kept society going during the pandemic like social care workers and cleaners.

People working in London on the new ‘real’ living wage will earn £3,022 more a year than those on the national living wage – even when the latter rises in April (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We know that the living wage is good for businesses as well as workers, and as we rebuild our economy post pandemic, the real living wage must be at its heart.’

The move follows a temporary £20-a-week increase in Universal Credit being cut and comes amid a cost of living crisis in the UK.

The new independently-calculated rate is based on what experts believe is needed to live on in the UK, including fuel, energy, rent and food.

This year’s increase has been largely driven by sharp recent rises in fuel and rent prices.

But the former Green Party leader Sian Berry, who came third in the 2021 race to become London Mayor, told earlier this year that £14 an hour was a more reasonable sum for people living in the capital, when private rents instead of social housing costs are accounted for.

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Londoners on the government’s national living wage will earn some £3,022 less than a worker on the new ‘real’ living wage – even when the minimum legal rate rises next year.

Record numbers of employers have become living wage accredited since the pandemic began, meaning there are almost 9,000 companies tied to the rate in the UK – and almost one in 13 employees working for an accredited employer.

On Monday, FTSE 100 construction firms Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes, as well Fujitsu, food delivery company Getir, and Capita joined the list.

Metro Mayors in London and Greater Manchester have also announced major new commitments to create ‘living wage city regions’, which could see thousands more pay rises.

Kim Coles, a finance director at long-standing ‘real living wage’ supporter Lush, said: ‘We continue to commit to the rate in tough times because that is when our people need it the most, and it’s the right thing to do.

‘Having an independently calculated real living wage rate means that we have a positive step towards staff being able to afford what they need to thrive, not just survive.’

Ryan, a worker who recently began earning the rate when he joined COOK Food, said: ‘I’d worked in a pub for two years… was on minimum wage and I was working at least 50 hours a week to pay the rent.

‘Even though I was working so hard, I started to get in debt. My relationships suffered, and it started to affect my health both mentally and physically.’

But, he added: ‘Since coming to COOK, being paid the real Living Wage made all the difference. I could work only 40 hours a week and take home more than when I was working 50 or 60 hours at the pub.

‘Gradually my mental health improved, I also started to live more healthily (and) my relationships improved as I had time to spend with my friends.’

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