Money Wellness
A worried woman going through her finances
category iconcost of living
calendar icon29 Sep 2023

Cost-of-living crisis ‘not over for low-paid workers’

Inflation may be easing but the cost-of-living crisis is far from over for low-paid workers, according to a new report.

Over 3.5 million workers earn less than the real living wage. This is a voluntary rate set by the Living Wage Foundation. The real living wage is £11.95 in London and £10.90 across the rest of the UK.

The report’s findings

The new research carried out by the Living Wage Foundation found among workers earning less that the real living wage:

  • 60% have used a foodbank in the past year
  • 50% are worse off than a year ago
  • 39% regularly skip meals
  • 39% are behind on household bills
  • 32% can’t afford to heat their homes
  • 27% are behind with their rent or mortgage payments
  • 21% have taken out a payday loan to cover the essentials

The effects of low pay on wellbeing

The report also looked at the effects of earning less than the living wage on people's wellbeing:

  • 52% said it had negatively affected their mental health
  • 50% said it had reduced their quality of life
  • 39% said it had damaged their relationships with friends and family

Carolina, a cleaner and recruitment assistant who has recently started work with an employer paying the living wage, said:

“It was quite difficult for me when my income was low. I had no money left over for savings, the gym, or entertainment. To save money on high rent, I had to share a tiny apartment with my family. Since I began [my new job], my quality of life has greatly improved. I relocated to a new apartment, had enough cash to pay my expenses, and can now go out on the weekends.”

New living wage

This report comes a month before the Living Wage Foundation announces new rates for 2023-24

If you’re struggling

We can help if you’re struggling to cover your living expenses. Get in touch:

  • for budgeting help
  • to check you’re getting the benefits you’re entitled to
  • for advice on debt solutions

All our advice is free, so finding out what your options are won’t cost a thing. Some debt solutions are also free. For others, there’s a fee.

You can access our debt help 24/7 online. Or if you prefer to talk to someone on the phone, call us on 0161 518 8285. We’re here 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and between 10am and 4pm over the weekend.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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