Life on low pay and inflation begins to ease

Think tank: The Living Wage Foundation

Author(s): Ana Witteveen

September 29, 2023

This report by UK think tank the Living Wage Foundation discusses the findings of their fourth ‘Life on Low Pay survey.

Costs remain high even as inflation begins to ease, leaving many low paid workers facing ongoing financial hardship. While workers across the income distribution are feeling the squeeze, the situation is particularly challenging for the UK’s 3.5m low paid workers. This is the fourth time we have run the ‘Life on Low Pay’ survey to track the real-life impact of being paid less than the real Living Wage. Our polling data shows that despite the general easing of inflation over the past year, low paid workers have only reported a slight reduction in financial hardship during that time, and are still experiencing higher levels of financial hardship than before the cost-of-living crisis. This year’s polling shows that 50 per cent of workers are worse off than a year ago, with 65 per cent reporting it was because of the increased cost-of-living. Though this is an improvement on August 2022, when 62 per cent of low paid workers reported being worse off. These findings suggest that high living costs have continued to erode workers’ pay packets. As the results of this survey show, a real-terms pay cut is simply not an option for the lowest paid workers, many of whom have already been forgoing essentials like food and heating. That is why it is more important than ever that employers do right by their employees and pay them a real Living Wage