The Living Wage Foundation has announced the new Living Wage rates have risen to £9.50 across the UK (20p increase), and £10.85 in London (10p increase).

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK – this is different to the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.

Over 250,000 people in the UK work for almost 7,000 real Living Wage Employers, who voluntarily choose to pay their employees the real Living Wage “to ensure all staff earn a wage that meets the real cost of living, and covers everyday needs”.

The announcement comes as the UK celebrates Living Wage Week (9-15 November). Laura Gardiner, director of the Living Wage Foundation, commented: “It’s an incredibly challenging time for us all, but today’s new Living Wage rates will give a boost to hundreds of thousands of UK workers, including thousands of key and essential workers like cleaners, care workers, and delivery drivers who have kept our economy going.

“Since the start of the pandemic employers have continued to sign up to a real Living Wage.

“During Living Wage Week, it’s right that we celebrate those employers that have done right by workers and families, providing them with much needed security and stability even when times are hard. These are the employers that will allow us to recover and rebuild from this crisis.”

Arron Harnden, managing director of Shirtworks, is a Living Wage employer and said this creates a more positive and accountable workforce. He commented: “It raises self-esteem with employees as they know they’re not minimum wage slaves, and we also enjoy more job applications [as a Living Wage employer], which increase the likelihood that we will get to employ better candidates.”

However, raising the Living Wage rates as UK businesses continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is ill-advised, added Arron.  

“Most businesses have borrowed money to get through this difficult period and laid off staff, and are struggling with losses and the mitigation of further losses.

“All of us should accept that simply being in a paid job is a significant advantage and a blessing, and that the timing for a [Living Wage] increase runs counterintuitive to practical financial concerns that have been forced upon us by an over-reaction to world events.”