Churches and Christians are being urged to support a campaign for a Real Living Wage.
It comes as the Chancellor is due to announce an increase in the National Living Wage from £10.42 to £11 an hour for those aged over 23 from next April.
But campaigners say that doesn’t go far enough and want a commitment to a Real Living Wage which is higher because it is independently-calculated and based on what people need to get by.
Liam Purcell from Church Action on Poverty has been speaking to Premier about the issue :
“The National Living Wage goes up every year, and it's obviously good to put a bit more money in people's pockets. But the first thing to point out is that the label ‘national living wage’ is not an accurate label, it's the ‘national minimum wage.’ It is not a living wage in a meaningful way, because it isn't enough to live on, it isn't based on the calculation of what people actually need.
“The Real Living Wage is already nearly 11 pounds an hour, which we encourage churches to pay, and a lot of other employers do. That will also be rated around the start of November and will continue to be higher than the National Minimum Wage, which the government is talking about.
“The cost of living is rising so fast, and in the last few years, the Living Wage Foundation has found that for anyone who is earning less than the Real Living Wage, 39 per cent of them have regularly skipped meals, 39 per cent are falling behind on household bills, 32 per cent have been unable to heat their homes. So what we need is a real living wage. And that's what we need to be calling for as churches because it's about making sure that everyone is able to live life in all its fullness. That’s what we think as a Christian organisation.”
The Real Living Wage Foundation will announce its new rates on 24th October 2023. Currently it’s London Living Wage is £11.95 per hour. The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £10.90 per hour.
The rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.