Simon Emery

Pressure on household budgets continues to build  with the cost of power, fuel and food all going up on top of disruption due to Covid and Brexit.

With National Insurance payments also going up there are calls for an increase to the minimum wage.

The government are due to increase the minimum wage for those aged 23 and over from £8.91 to £9.50 from April. That’s a roughly 6% increase.

However, according to calculations made by the ‘Living Wage Foundation’, this still does not meet the real living wage.

Simon Emery, from Nottingham, a now self employed painter and decorator, says he made the change to self employed to deal with rising costs.

He says there are risks, but prefers the security of not being on a zero hours contract.

“They aren’t obliged to give you so many hours a day, they just give you what’s available so that means you just sit on your hands waiting for work”.

Mr Emery said he drew up a list of pros and cons when deciding to go freelance but felt self employed worked better for him with household bills rising rapidly.

“With a freelance you can have situations where you have no money coming in, but in the same vain you have times where excessive amounts of money are coming in all at once.

“Also you get paid on a more regular basis which can make it easier to manage your expenses,” he said.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that:

  • food shop prices have increased by 90%
  • energy bills have risen by 77%
  • fuel prices have gone up by 69%.

The Labour party have come up with a bill to increase the minimum wage to £15.

They say it is to help support the 14.5 million people that are currently living in poverty.

Nottingham East Labour MP, Nadia Whittome, is a strong advocate for a living wage while also campaigning to end zero hour contracts.

VIDEO CREDIT: nadiawhittomemp on TikTok.

Research shows that a majority of those below the poverty line are from working households.

The living wage foundation says there are nearly 8,000 accredited employers in their network.

“[These employers are] going further than the government minimum and paying all staff the real Living Wage for the real cost of living”.

The rates are calculated annually based on the best available figures about living standards in London and the UK.

The current living wage has been calculated to be £11.05 for those in London and £9.90 in the rest of England.