‘Minimum wage isn’t fit for purpose’: Workers can’t afford to live in 16 UK cities
Nick Thomas-Symonds responds to minimum wage question
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It’s not just London and cities in the south where people are struggling to make ends meet because of higher rents and living costs. Edinburgh, Durham and York have all made it into the top 10 least affordable UK cities for people on minimum wage.
The research by Investing Reviews looked at the least affordable cities for people aged 23 and over who are working in jobs that pay the minimum wage.
It looked at their take home pay, cost of renting and other typical living costs to determine how much disposable income they had left at the end of the day.
Unsurprisingly, Westminster and the City of London came in at first and second place but cities such as St Albans, Bath and Brighton & Hove followed closely behind.
The findings discovered that there was a huge shortfall for people who are paid the minimum wage. Residents in Bath were left with a deficit of £681.36 a month after forking out for rent and bills.
While there is a perception that it has always been cheaper to live up north, it seems that depends on where.
In Edinburgh, minimum wage workers are bringing home £501.26 less than they need to cover their costs, in Durham it’s £490 and York £377.
However there is still a north/south divide – seven of the ten most affordable cities in the UK were based in the North of England or Scotland.
The study didn’t take into account pensions – when adding pension contributions to the cost of living it was found no one living in any UK city had any income left whatsoever.
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Campaigners have been calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to raise the minimum wage or face millions of young people being plunged into poverty.
Youth Fight for Jobs descended on Leeds at the weekend to express their concern at rising youth unemployment, which they fear will only get worse now the furlough scheme has come to an end.
Campaigner Alex Hutchinson told ITV News that MPs must put a stop to zero hour contracts and called for “an immediate increase of minimum wage to £12-an-hour which would lift millions of workers out of poverty, or on the brink of poverty”.
Government statistics show that young people have been some of the worst hit by the economic downturn during the pandemic.
Young people have also been the hardest hit by rising unemployment over the last 18 months.
Almost 80 percent of jobs lost in the past year have affected the under 35s.
Meanwhile, the Government has hinted that a pay rise for British workers could be on the cards.
Rumours have been circulating that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce that the National Living Wage will rise from £8.91 to £9.42 per hour over the next few weeks.
If this proves true it still falls short of what campaigners are calling for.
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Even if reports are correct, the National Living wage won’t increase until April 2022. Currently the National Living Wage stands at:
£8.91 for those 23 and over
£8.36 for 21 to 22-year-olds
£6.56 for those aged 18 to 20
£4.62 for under 18s
£4.30 for apprentices.
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