• Dr Gerard Lyons

A comment on wages

Today it was announced that the living wage is to rise

Great news that the living wage is to rise to £9.50 for those over 23. Previously it was £8.91 for over 25, and £8.36 for 21-24 year olds. So a big rise for those aged 23 and 24 (13.6%) & 6.6% for over 25s. A clear commitment to those on low pay. A rise to around this figure was expected; recommended by Low Pay Commission.

Although less highlighted is this brings it into line with the “real living wage” - which was recommended by the Living Wage Foundation last November & that calculation which is based on cost of living will have risen since

The national living wage is statutory - and the previous aim is for it to rise to 2/3rds of medium income by 2024 - it tends to lag the Real Living Wage which is voluntary and is currently £9.50 or £10.85 in London. Annual real living wage week is soon. @LivingWageUK

When I worked at City Hall until May 2016 I championed the London Living Wage which the then Mayor (Boris Johnson) was a keen advocate of. There are also rises across all age groups and apprenticeships up £4.30 to £4.81.

The voluntary nature of the real living wage was an important feature in its success & the sensitivity of small firms’ cost bases to statutory increases was always a sensitive issue & perhaps more so now as wages rise & focuses attention on wider cost base too (business rates and taxes included).