Britain needs a Living Wage rise – but will the Brexit Tories listen?

Living Wage Foundation unveils pay rise, but it could be hobbled by Brexit

 

Pay should rise across the country to match the cost of living by 3.7 per cent in London and 2.4 per cent nationally – but the government could be forced to cut a rise in workers’ wages thanks to Brexit.

The Living Wage Foundation today released its latest calculations for a real living wage based on living costs. It said wages in London should rise 35p from £9.40 to £9.75 per hour and nationally by 20p from  £8.25 to £8.45.

The rise was taken up as policy today by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

But the government in Westminster’s so-called National Living Wage falls far short of today’s proposed increase, and could actually be revised down in April thanks to Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

A report by the Resolution Foundation suggested the NLW, which is based on median income rather than living costs, could be revised down next year as a result of a post-Brexit vote slowdown in wage growth.

As the LWF notes today, the government’s minimum wage for over 25s is currently 17 per cent lower than the Living Wage proposed today.

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:

“Today’s new Living Wage rates bring a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across the UK.

One in five people earn less than the wage they need to get by. That’s why it’s more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living.”

The rise was welcomed by Trades Union Congress  General Secretary Frances O’Grady, who said:

“It’s great to see another 1,000 employers signing up, but millions of families are still blighted by low pay. Good employers need to pick up the pace and adopt the real Living Wage.

The fight for decent pay won’t be won just by employer goodwill, however. We need strong unions who can negotiate with employers and win fair pay for their members, along with a rise in the government’s minimum wage.”

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