Back in 2001, underpaid London cleaners launched a ‘Living Wage’ campaign which spread across the UK. More than 5,000 organisations across the country have now signed up to pay workers fairly. Today, City Hall announced that the official London Living Wage has been raised from £10.55 to £10.75 an hour, reflecting what’s needed for a decent standard of living in the capital in 2020. But how is that worked out?
Essentially, researchers at the Living Wage Commission conduct fresh research each year on the latest weekly food, housing, energy, transport and childcare costs. For example, in 2018/19, its ‘basket’ of weekly essentials for a single Londoner allowed £91.12 for rent (roughly £395 a month). What’s called ‘cultural and social participation’ (translation: not being a recluse) cost £41.83 per week. The basket also includes food and drink costs, including (at last year’s prices) 50p for sausages, £9.33 for fresh fruit and veg and £1.60 for boozing outside the house.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, says, ‘A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.’ And if you can find a pint in London for less than £2, you’ve most definitely earned it.