Uk voluntary living wage rises to £9 benefiting around 180,000 workers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 5th Nov 2018) London, Uk – –

One worker on the minimum wage tells Sky News that a proper living wage would liberate her from a “surviving pay cheque”

The voluntary living wage – designed to give workers enough money to live on – is to be increased.

The new rate has been calculated by the Living Wage Foundation to offset the rising cost of everything from public transport to monthly rent.

The new hourly rate will see the living wage rise by 25p to £9 for workers across the UK – except in London where it will rise by 35p to £10.55.

Both figures are higher than the statutory national living wage, which is due to rise to £8.21 in April for workers aged 25 and over.

More than 4,700 businesses have already signed up, benefiting around 180,000 workers.

Lauren Townsend – a graduate who works as a waitress for a multimillion pound restaurant chain on the minimum wage – would like to be one of them.

“A real living wage would make the difference between a surviving pay cheque and a pay cheque and living,” she told Sky News.

“I'm 27 years old and I live in a house share with four other adults who are all in their 20s,” she said.

“I live with a married couple. We can't afford to save to buy a house. We have no savings put aside for a rainy day. We are putting off having children because we can't afford to have children.”

Director of the Living Wage Foundation, Tess Lanning, wants more businesses to sign up.

“There has been a rise in the number of jobs paying less than the real living wage in the last year,” she said.

“So that's why we need more employers to step up, go beyond the government minimum and pay a real living wage based on what people need to live.”

She added that the living wage can have “real business benefits – improvements in staff turnover, absence rates, (and) a more motivated, loyal, engaged staff”.

David Lesniak, co-owner of bakery and restaurant Outsider Tart in Chiswick, pays his staff the living wage despite facing high running costs – particularly business rates.

He said: “It's exceedingly important that we do our best to do right by our staff because we know they are challenged in many ways, from how they get to work, how they put a roof over their head, and how they put food in their mouths, so wherever we can help out we try to help out.”

The business department said the statutory living wage had “helped to deliver the fastest wage growth for the lowest paid in 20 years”.

It added: “In last week's budget we announced that from April 2019 full-time workers will earn an extra £690 a year.

“The government takes advice on minimum wage rates from the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC), which balances the needs of workers and businesses.

“The LPC aims to set the national minimum wage as high as possible without harming employment prospects.”

By Emma Birchley