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“The importance of the Real Living Wage in the cost-of-living crisis”

30 Jun 2022

financial inclusion

By Julian Baker, People Partner with United Welsh


An image of a man with white skin and dark hair smiling at the camera wearing a white t shirt


The ever-increasing cost of living is a huge concern to many of us. UK inflation rose to 9.1% this month, its highest rate in 40 years driven by the soaring cost of food and petrol.

Life is getting more and more expensive as we pay more for the basic items we need to survive, from cereal for breakfast to petrol for the school run. With the additional surge in energy bill prices and interest rates, financial strain and anxiety is high.

The “All Work and Low pay” report commissioned by the Real Living Wage Foundation in June 2022 highlights that pay is a significant issue in the third sector which now accounts for nearly 3% of the UK working population (correct as of 2021).

The Foundation says that while the housing sector dedicates a large amount of resources to the root causes of financial hardship, sections of the workforce are not paid a wage that allows them to meet essential living costs, affecting workers’ physical and mental health and whether they can remain in the sector. Paying less than a Living Wage affects organisations too, in their ability to attract and retain staff, the financial costs of sick leave and reputational damage.

United Welsh was recently reaccredited as a Real Living Wage employer, placing us within a third of non-profit sector organisations that are currently paying the Real Living Wage in the UK.*

The past two years have been marked by accelerated volatility, uncertainty and change for the third sector. With the unfolding cost of living crisis, organisations operating in an already resource-constrained environment will continue to be challenged, with lower paid workers hit hardest by spiralling costs.

To put it simply though, we can’t achieve what we do without our staff, and as an organisation that takes pride in our values-led business strategy, the reason for paying the Real Living Wage is very clear.

Through the eyes of one member of the team: “You do feel more valued, and you’ve got a bit more money to enjoy life, earn more and plan for the future. So overall, it’s a brilliant thing […] It makes such an impact on the staff’s wellbeing.”



* “All Work and Low Pay? The third sector and the Real Living Wage” report by Yasmin Mahmoudi, Alice Ollendorff and Joe Richardson for the Living Wage Foundation


Related links

Help with money
United Welsh becomes a Living Wage employer
United Welsh celebrates Real Living Wage week