Real Living Wage 2020: What is the real Living Wage in the UK?

The Government sets the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage every year. But the Living Wage Foundation is campaigning for a ‘real’ National Living Wage which is higher than the Government’s minimum, and is based on the cost of living.

What is the National Minimum Wage?

The current National Minimum Wage applies to workers aged 24 and under.

From April 2020, the National Minimum Wage is as follows:

  • Apprentice – £4.15
  • Under 18 – £4.55
  • 18-20 – £6.45
  • 21-24 £8.20

Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they are both aged 19 or over, and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.


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What is the National Living Wage?

Workers aged 25 and over get the National Living Wage rather than the National Minimum Wage.

The National Living Wage was first introduced in 2016, but some argue the wage is not high enough to cover the cost of living.

As of April 2020, the National Living Wage is £8.72 per hour, increasing from the 2019 hourly rate of £8.21.

The change will see some low-paid workers earning nearly a thousand pounds more per year.

Following their landslide election win, the Conservatives had pledged to increase the wage if economically possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Hard work should always pay, but for too long, people haven’t seen the pay rises they deserve.”

He added: “Our government will put a stop to that, giving nearly three million people from Edinburgh to Eastbourne a well-earned pay rise, including the biggest ever cash boost to the National Living Wage.”


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What is the real living wage for 2020?

The Living Wage Foundation campaigns for companies to pay employees a ‘real Living Wage’ based on the cost of living, rather than the Government minimum.

Although the current Conservative Government is raising the National Living Wage this year, some argue the amount set is not enough to live.

The Living Wage Foundation sets the current ‘real Living Wage’ as £9.30 across the UK.

However, in London the organisation believes the wage should be higher at £10.75 per hour.

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage do not have a London-weighting.

This is despite the fact the cost of living is often higher in the capital.

In addition, the Living Wage Foundation states that unlike the National Living Wage, the ‘real’ National Living Wage should be paid to all workers over the age of 18 rather than 25.

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