Friday, 13 March 2015

Living Wage - locking in poverty for all except half a childless couple.

Living Wage - Road to Hell, Paved with (apparently) Good Intentions.

Living wage - a factual calculation of an indicative figure for an annual income required by a person based on their family situation (single, part of a couple, with out kids, with 1 kid, 2, 3...) to have the minimum 'acceptable' quality of life.

You can argue over what the minimum acceptable quality of life is (from absolutely nothing, to palaces and riches) - or about whether certain family situations should be 'permitted', or how detailed/general the different groups should be, and even where the 'wage' should come from (who pays it) but the principle of a 'Living Wage' is fact, not opinion.

Having said that, Living Wage is oriented to 'earnings' - so excludes in-work benefits etc - I'd rather see a 'Living Income' so the division between benefits and earnings is more transparent. I would especially like this as in-work benefits are often related to income - so vary one and the other varies too.

The Living Wage Foundation are the good/bad guys here... they are a charity that have claimed the 'Living Wage' mantle - they calculate a figure and then get grants from government to promote it and income from employers who want their accreditation.

The Living Wage Foundation calculation arrives at two figures - one for London and one for the rest of the UK.

To arrive at the figure, figures are calculated for various different family situations (which obviously vary hugely - in 2014 from £5.70 for a member of a couple, £8.30 for a single, through a whole range up to £21.10 for a single parent with three children) these individual figures are weighted and averaged (in 2014 to £9.20) and then it is adjusted so accredited employers aren't asked for to pay too much of an increase - in 2014 the adjusted figure was £7.95 (a reduction of £1.35).

As you can see the final published 'Living Wage' is insufficient for every class of family member except a member of a childless couple. However despite this, the 'accreditation' will give employers a solid excuse to pay this low figure, and indeed to boast about it.


Selling indulgences like the medieval roman catholic church.

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