Isn’t this a surprise?

The ‘national living wage’ (NLW) falls short of providing a decent standard of income to low-paid staff and will need to increase sharply to offset rising rents and slowing wages growth, according to campaigners against low pay.

After a six-month review, the Living Wage Commission said it had assessed the “best available evidence on living standards” and concluded that the £7.20 an hour NLW for the over 25s, introduced in April, was failing to provide the basic needs of low-paid households.

There never will be a number at which they say “stick a fork in it, it’s done” will there?

33 thoughts on “Isn’t this a surprise?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    The more illiterate peasants we bring into the country, whether from Bulgaria or Nigeria or Thailand, the more downward pressure there will be on the law end of the wage scale.

    The solution is to close the border.

  2. ‘national living wage’ not a living wage. What do you expect when you name a requirement after a measurement. It’s like legislating a ‘national temperature’.

  3. Of course there won’t. Just like we’ll never resolve poverty or racism or cruelty to animals.

    Not while people can write themselves cushy jobs ‘dealing’ with the issue.

  4. “failing to provide the basic needs of low-paid households.” I don’t suppose that the ghastly amounts of “luxury” taxes paid by said low-paid households has anything to do with anything ?

    Dan Hannan worked out some time back that their basic needs (cigarettes, TV, some booze, drugs etc) meant they pay higher tax that many well-off families.

  5. What is the point of a “national living wage* when there are such massive differentials in the cost of living between London and some of the grimmer places Oop Norf where people don’t want to live so rents are trivial?

  6. SMFS,
    Ahem. Thai literacy is actually higher than the UK due to the the total, complete and utter absence of diversity. The only illiterate peasants we have are very old people and Khmin.

  7. The “living wage” campaign is supposed, firstly, to ensure that a family of four can live *comfortably* on the wages (even excluding tax credits) of one person in a low-paid job *without working overtime*. Then, secondly, it demands a single living at home with his/parents gets the same wage.
    I think the first is possibly well-meaning, but ignoring tax credits is stupid. The combination is arrant nonsense: look at the numbers..
    The average household is 2.1 persons, the number of workers is 31.8 million, UK population 65.1 million, 36% of whom are pensioners, so excluding pensioners 42m.
    The plan is that each and every one of the 31.8m earns at least enough to support in reasonable comfort 4 people i.e. 127m, more than three times the number in working-age households.
    What idiot expects *all* working-age people to work three times as hard as they need?

  8. Roue Le Jour/SMFS

    I’d wager Bulgarian literacy is well above the UK as well. Nigeria difficult to tell as it is so sprawling but certainly in London stories are legion of people from Kenya and Uganda (indeed most of the former British colonies) sending their children back to their countries of origin to avoid ‘progressive education’…..

  9. SMFS

    Lest you think I am Ironman I do agree tighter border controls are essential – not sure how easy it is to close them completely…

  10. Tim Newman

    I was thinking more of the non-Christian regions – although they may be literate in Arabic. Not sure the women in territory controlled by Boko Haram are able to read….

  11. How the fuck is it going to keep up with the rental needs of low-wage workers when rents paid by low-wage workers are driven by the low wages?

    These people will complain forever and nobody of note is going to call them on this shit.

    If they gave a crap about what low-wage people had to live on they’d at least have the decency to advocate for social housing so as to take people out of the rent/wages cycle. But no. That’s not their remit… or, at least, not the one they’re being paid for today.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    Roue le Jour – “Thai literacy is actually higher than the UK due to the the total, complete and utter absence of diversity. The only illiterate peasants we have are very old people and Khmin.”

    Thai literacy is given as 92%. Usually in Britain it is so small no one bothers to record it. Thais are diverse. Only 75% of the population is “Thai” and “Thai” consists of all the people speaking Tai languages that the Bangkok government has bullied into accepting the Thai King. And some Khmer and related people who have been bullied into assimilation. Isan is a good example. Their language is more closely related to Lao and there is widespread discrimination. But they are “Thai” nonetheless.

    We will have to wait another generation to be that diverse.

  13. “How the fuck is it going to keep up with the rental needs of low-wage workers when rents paid by low-wage workers are driven by the low wages?”

    Quite… And a goodly chunk of every increase in salary or housing benefit is simply swallowed up by the slumlords.

  14. SMFS
    I read 97%, but that doesn’t matter, the only illiterates are people too old to have got an education, not too poor. All young people after nine years of free compulsory education are literate, baring the irredeemably ‘special’.

    Usually in Britain it is so small no one bothers to record it.

    That’s adorable.

  15. I would be very surprised if Uk literacy based on my experience in schools and interviewing school leavers as a high as 92%…..

  16. Van_Patten – “I would be very surprised if Uk literacy based on my experience in schools and interviewing school leavers as a high as 92%…..”

    So would I – for my definition of literacy. But then I don’t have to deal with Thai high school graduates on a regular basis. I doubt their schools are any more successful. The Thai government can report all the success it likes.

    Bloke in Germany – “Hands up who thinks SMFS is a bot programmed to regurgutate Wikipedia in the style of Alf Garnett?”

    It must be embarrassing to get your ar$e kicked every time you summon the courage to stick your head above the parapet …. by a bot.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    “What is the point of a “national living wage* when there are such massive differentials in the cost of living between London and some of the grimmer places Oop Norf where people don’t want to live so rents are trivial?”

    I’m watching the Middlesex v Yorkshire game and David Lloyd has made the point a number of times that the travelling Yorkshire fans have been complaint about like mad about London prices.

  18. The living/minimum wage in London has a big problem, which is that it’s largely a subsidy to landlords. Unless you solve London’s housing-pressure problem, any increase gets sucked up by increased rents.

    And make no mistake about it, it’s pretty hard to get by in London on £7.20 an hour, even in a childless cohabiting couple – I have no problem with the idea that that figure isn’t actually what we mean by a living wage. (Although it’s not too damaging as a minimum wage since it’s around the lowest level (almost) anyone would take a job in London at given the cost of living nearby and/or commuting.)

    BiND>

    My most economically illiterate – ‘fuck the system!’ – friend turned to me the other day and said how daft it is that London has the same minimum wage as the rest of the country. If even he can see it…

  19. Bah!
    I shouldn’t trust Google – going to ONS only 18%, not 36%, are over 65 (I thought it looked high so i should have checked). So the JRF only want the minimum wage to provide all workers with 2.4 times enough to provide a comfortable living for themselves and all their dependants.
    Still lunacy

  20. Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated development, self-service tills are proliferating in practically every shop I ever visit.

  21. @ Dave
    The shortage of housing in London means that house prices and/or rents keep going up until you squeeze enough people out of the market to reduce demand to equal supply. But, and it is a big BUT, the problem is that, despite some watered-down attempts at reform by Cameron, the system is set up to favour Labour’s core vote at the expense of the working poor.
    How many people in London are living in social housing? Well over a million, probably two million – 400k local authority flats and houses plus Peabody (29k) and other charities (scores of almshouse charities). Local authority rents averaged £104/week in 2014-5 (latest data available on the net); £91.48 for a 1-bedroom flat – so less than 20% of joint income for co-habiting childless couple on minimum wage. When I moved to London as a young Actuary, the rent for a converted attic took up more than 20% of my pre-tax income.
    So unlike Disraeli’s “Two nations – the rich and the poor” London has two classes of resident – the subsidised council tenants living comfortably off of others’ labour and the struggling worker paying off a mortgage or a private sector rent.

  22. “I’m watching the Middlesex v Yorkshire game and David Lloyd has made the point a number of times that the travelling Yorkshire fans have been complaint about like mad about London prices.”

    No stereotype there then!

  23. john77>

    I think you might be smearing the picture by using too broad a brush there. London is not homogenous in terms of housing distribution, or even anything close to homogenous. The figures for council housing are distorted massively by areas on the outskirts, and the odd inner-city cluster.

    Your figure of a couple of million council houses/flats is massively overestimated. There are the 400k you cite, plus another few tens of thousands of housing association properties. The total is closer to half a million, and far, far lower than that if you only count those inside (say) Zone 3.

    The distribution matters because there are lots of council flats in places like Waltham Forest, where the market rent on those flats is not nearly as much higher than the figures you quote as the average London rent.

    Crucially, private tenants will get extra housing benefit that makes up the difference, at least in the same areas.

  24. John>

    Sorry, I wasn’t reading carefully enough. In that case we’re agreeing there, at least as an approximation.

    UKL>

    It gets close enough that then you have to be very careful about comparing like with like. Given how shitty much of the council accommodation is, the average lower-end private rents may be a bit higher just because the accommodation is a bit less shitty. Just for an example, Barnet – almost no council homes left, those that there are are shitty high-rise flats on one of North London’s worst estates. You’d do infinitely better to claim housing benefit and rent privately, even if it took £20 a week out of already tight funds.

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