• If just a quarter of Welsh low-paid workers were given a pay rise to the real Living Wage, it could provide an extra £75.4m boost to the economy.  
  • 144,000 workers in Wales currently earn below the real Living Wage.  
  • The real Living Wage is £10.90 across the UK and is the only the wage rate based on the true cost of living.   
  • There are currently almost 500 accredited Living Wage employers in Wales including Bridgend County Council, Portmeirion, St David’s Roman Catholic Sixth Form College, Shaw Healthcare and Sparkles Cleaning. 


Wider adoption of the real Living Wage could provide a significant economic boost to Welsh economy, new research shows today.   

Research commissioned by the Living Wage Foundation and conducted by the Smith Institute, the Local Living Wage Dividend, found that if just a quarter of those earning less than the real Living Wage saw their pay rise to the real Living Wage, the increase in wages, productivity and spending would deliver over £75.4m back into the Welsh economy.   

With Welsh households facing a cost-of-living crisis, and economic growth stagnant, today’s research shows how a real Living Wage could tackle both, and support a high-growth, high-wage economy in Wales.  

There are now almost 500 Living Wage employers in Wales, including Bridgend County Council, Portmeirion, and St David’s Roman Catholic Sixth Form College. Because of their commitment, over 17,000 workers in Wales receive an annual pay rise in line with the cost of living.  

The real Living Wage is the only wage rate calculated based on the cost of living. It is currently £10.90 across the UK. For a full- time worker, that represents £2,730 a year more than someone earning the government’s National Living Wage.  

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:   

“I am pleased more Welsh businesses than ever before are adopting of the real living wage, as employers recognise the benefits to them, their workforce, and the wider economy 

“While this continued progress is really encouraging, we recognise not all employers are starting from the same place and the current pressures and rising costs facing public services and businesses pose very real challenges.  We will continue to work with employers, trades unions and all our partners to promote the benefits of the real living wage.” 

Ceri Jennings, Managing Director of Sparkles Cleaning Services Wales said: “Paying the real Living Wage is simply the right thing to do.  It’s important to us that our staff earn enough to keep their heads above water financially and live a dignified life, but it also means a happier and more productive workforce too.  

“Today’s report shows that the Living Wage could also boost our local economy as Welsh workers paid the Living Wage will mostly likely spend the extra money locally. I’d encourage any businesses who aren’t yet accredited to sign up and pay their staff a real Living Wage, it has never been more important.” 

Dr Deborah Hann, Co-chair of Citizens Cymru Wales, which leads the Living Wage campaign in Wales, said: “The implementation of the Real Living Wage in social care is a milestone achievement for our campaign, lifting every care worker in Wales out of in-work poverty. Welsh Government has shown real leadership in committing to fund the Real Living Wage in social care, effectively putting an extra £43 million into the pay packets of our care workers.  

“As the cost of living crisis grows, we are calling on the majority of Health Boards and local councils in Wales that are not yet Living Wage employers to work with Cynnal Cymru, the Living Wage Foundation’s Accreditation Partner in Wales, to start the journey towards Living Wage accreditation.” 

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:  

“Paying the real Living Wage isn’t just the right thing to do for workers, it’s good for business and the wider local economy too. “In the midst of unprecedented economic times, paying the real Living Wage both tackles in-work poverty and provides a vital economic boost to the UK economy.    

“With the cost of living rising, it’s never been more important for employers who can step up and provide a wage based on the cost of living, joining over 2,900 Living Wage employers in Wales. In doing so they’ll not just provide security and stability for their workforce, but they will boost the local economy too.” 

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