More than 210,000 workers are set to receive a pay rise after higher rates were announced for the voluntary living wage.

The rate will increase by 30p-an-hour to £9.30, and by 20p in London to £10.75, with the number of employers signing up to pay the living wage increasing to almost 6,000.

The Living Wage Foundation, which sets the rates, said they were now £1.09-an-hour higher than the statutory minimum wage of £8.21 for adults, and £2.54 higher in London.

Workers will receive the news on Monday, although the new rates will be brought in over the next few months.

A record 1,500 employers have accredited with the foundation this year, including Crystal Palace Football Club, Welsh Water and Newcastle University as well as a number of local authorities.

More than a third of companies in the FTSE 100 pay the living wage.

Living Wage Foundation director, Katherine Chapman, said: "In this time of uncertainty today's new living wage rates give a boost to hundreds of thousands of UK workers.

"Good businesses know that the real living wage means happier, healthier and more motivated workers, and that providing workers with financial security is not only the right thing to do, but has real business benefits.

"This year for the first time cities and towns have announced big plans to grow the number of living wage employers in their communities.

"We are delighted at the ambition of Cardiff and Salford to build living wage cities, with Cardiff planning to double the number of workers getting the real living wage to nearly 50,000, freeing many more families from the low pay trap. We hope to see many more towns and cities follow suit."

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: "Living Wage Week 2019 is a moment to celebrate what can be done when faith organisations, civil society and businesses pull together around values that unite us.

"With thousands of employers now accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, it's no longer just a campaign, it's a movement that is transforming lives."

Today's announcement follows recent research by KPMG showing that 5.2 million jobs still pay less than the real living wage.

There are big regional disparities, with Northern Ireland having the highest percentage of jobs paying below the living wage (23%) and South East England the lowest (15%), said the foundation.

The living wage is updated every year, calculated on the cost of living, and payable to everyone over the age of 18.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Working people deserve a wage they can build a life on. It's not right that millions are struggling to make ends meet, while those at the top enjoy bumper pay cheques.

"With household debt at record levels more employers must pay the real living wage."

TUC analysis published this month suggested that household debt has increased by a third since 2010 to new records.

Margaret Greenwood, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "Tory ministers claim that work is the best route out of poverty, but last year the number of people on zero hour contracts increased sharply. The reality is that 70% of children in poverty live in working families.

"Labour will ban zero hour contracts, introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour for all workers aged 16 and over and end in-work poverty."

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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