The Real Living Wage

Earnings have not risen in real terms since 2010. This means that although the amount of wages in people’s pockets has risen, the costs of living have risen more, and the Real Living Wage seeks to address this.

Along with other factors, such as the increased use of zero hour contracts, the discrepancy between income and outgoings has directly contributed to the growing number of people experiencing in-work poverty – 56% of people in poverty are in a working family.

The Real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is set to meet everyday needs. According to the Living Wage Foundation, it is voluntarily paid by nearly 7,000 UK employers who believe “a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay”.

Local councils and other anchor institutions can commit to becoming real living wage employers, and to changing their procurement policies so that there suppliers are also living wage employers.

Case study: Salford Council

Salford is on track to become the first city in England to be recognised as a “Living Wage City” with the Council, as the city’s largest employer, leading the way. Salford Council began to pay the Real Living Wage in 2013 and is now encouraging employers across the city to do the same.

There are 9,500 active businesses in the city and the number of jobs offering below the Living Wage is growing by around 2000 per year. Salford Council is aiming to increase the proportion of Salford residents being paid at or above the Real Living Wage from 59.1% to 65% by the end of 2022. With an action group made up of local businesses and the public, voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, there is a strong coalition across the city pulling towards this shared goal.