Living Wage Series - United Kingdom - December 2018 - In Pound Sterling, per Month

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage in more than 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Pound Sterling)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 360-500 370-510 92-130
Housing 600-840 600-840 390-500
Transport 100-120 100-120 50-60
Health 30-50 30-50 8-13
Education 63-190 63-190 0
Other costs 58-85 58-86 27-35
Total Expenditure 1211-1785 1221-1796 567-738
Net Living Wage 757-1116 678-998 567-738
Gross Living Wage 915-1350 820-1210 685-890

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Pound Sterling)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

Typical family (two parents + 1.9 children, 1.6 working) 915-1350
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 820-1210
Two parents and two children, 2 working 740-1090
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 985-1450
Two parents and two children, 1 working 1480-2180
Two parents and three children, 1.6 working 995-1460
Two parents and four children, 1.6 working 1070-1560
Single-adult without children, 1 working 685-890

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Pound Sterling)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage 1074 1193 1243 1378
Living Wage - Single Adult 660-815 680-880 645-840 685-895
Living Wage - Typical Family 925-1320 905-1330 875-1290 915-1350
Real wage of low-skilled worker 1040-1190 1100-1300 1070-1220 1200-1370
Real wage of medium-skilled worker 1160-1430 1290-1620 1200-1460 1340-1620
Real wage of high-skilled worker 1620-2170 1860-2480 1650-2170 1860-2440

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.

United Kingdom Graph

Food basket and food prices in Pound Sterling

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food item Grams per day Energy (kcal) Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 188 512 1.9-2
Rice 11 44 1-1.9
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 147 286 4.4-6.6
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 27 250 1-1
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 68 242 1-1.4
Maize and products 5 16 1-1
Milk - Excluding Butter 409 219 .8-1
Vegetables, Other 113 31 1.8-2
Potatoes and products 183 116 1.2-2
Butter, Ghee 10 73 2-4
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 9 30 -
Pulses, Other and products 2 8 2-2
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 19 28 1-1.7
Sunflowerseed Oil 4 34 .9-1.5
Fish products 37 25 5-8.4
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 123 60 3-4.5
Sweeteners, Other 3 8 1-1
Beans 0 1 1-1.6
Bananas 29 18 1.1-1.6
Soyabeans 0 0 1.5-2
Yams 0 1 1-2
Apples and products 47 13 1.2-2
Tomatoes and products 38 8 1-2
Onions 20 8 1-1.2
Oranges, Mandarines 67 19 2.1-2.2
Plantains 1 1 1.3-2
Peas 3 12 1-1.7
Roots, Other 0 0 1-1
Seeds and kernels 0 3 1-1
Wine (bottle) 33 22 6.7-8
Pineapples and products 6 3 -
Cream 0 1 2-3.9
Olives (including preserved) 1 1 3-4
Honey 1 3 2-3
Citrus, Other 1 0 1-1.5
Lemons, Limes and products 4 1 1-1.4
Tea (including mate) 3 1 1.5-3
Grapefruit and products 7 2 1-1.5
Coffee and products 5 2 3-5


WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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