Suggested living wage sees 10.1% increase

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Heat or eat: Voluntary living wage increases by more than 10% but operators fear rising wage bills could be 'final nail in the coffin' (Credit:Gettygeorgeclerk)
Heat or eat: Voluntary living wage increases by more than 10% but operators fear rising wage bills could be 'final nail in the coffin' (Credit:Gettygeorgeclerk)

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The real living wage has seen its biggest year-on-year increase with more than 390,000 workers across more than 11,000 living wage employers set to receive a pay boost, according to the Living Wage Foundation.

Having risen to 10.1%, the new voluntary real living wage, which is an hourly rate of pay independently set annually and is different to the Government National Living Wage, will see the UK living wage increase to £10.90 per hour, £11.95 for the London living wage.

Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman 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.    

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

Cost-of-living crisis 

“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 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.”

The increase means employees at real living wage companies, such as BrewDog, will benefit from an extra £1 per hour, with living wage workers having already benefitted from more than £338m in extra wages since the start of this year, according to new research from Cardiff Business school.

According to the Living Wage Foundation, the living wage, which is calculated against the basic cost of living, has delivered more than £2bn extra to some of the UK’s lowest paid workers since 2011.

This follows calls from Trades Union Congress last month for an increase to the Government National Minimum Wage.

However, operators across the sector​ claimed having to increase wages at a time when costs across the board, including energy​ and food prices, are continuing to soar could be the “final nail in the coffin” for the sector.

Final nail in the coffin 

Licensee of the Dog at Wingham, Marc Bridgen, stated in most cases within the industry, operators were not much more financially viable than staff due to rocketing operating costs with most businesses already on a “cliffs edge”.

He added: “With everything going on, [wages increasing] would be the final nail in the coffin​.

“We are all worried. In most cases, [hospitality] owners aren't much more financially viable, we are all desperate. I've had very serious, worrying conversations with three of my senior staff​, and they are desperately worried about rising utility bills.

“The best thing I've tried to do for them at the moment, is keep the Dog busy, open, and alive and paying them all, it's phenomenally challenging.

“If my utilities are going up by approximately £6,000 to £7,000 a month, which I can't afford, how on earth can I afford my wage bill to go up?”

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