Low Incomes In 2023
The Workers Union believes that working people are the beating heart of this country’s success. Our world-class reputation as a trading nation is a reflection of the ingenuity, hard work and productivity of British workers – something that we should all be quick to celebrate.
Yet many hard-working people are struggling on low wages. Globalisation, app-work culture, the COVID pandemic and rocketing inflation have seen wages fail to keep track with the cost of living.
The current National Living Wage is £9.50 an hour for workers over 23 years of age. While this will rise to £10.42 in April 2023, it is not enough.
Understanding the Causes of Low Income in the UK
There are several factors that contribute to low-income households in the UK. One of the most significant factors is the UK’s labour market. Low wages and insecure work characterise the UK market.
In addition, the UK has a significant gender pay gap which means that women are more likely to be earning lower wages than men. This has a direct impact on the income of single-parent households, as women are more likely to be the main wage earners.
Furthermore, the UK has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. This means that a small number of individuals have access to the majority of the wealth in the UK, leaving those on low incomes unable to increase their income through savings or investments.
Finally, the UK has a lack of affordable housing. This means high, often unaffordable rents. When rents take a large proportion of income, workers have less money to cover other expenses.
The Impact of Low Income on Individuals, Families, and Society
Low-income households in the UK have a significant impact on individuals, families, and society. The most immediate impact is on the individuals and families living in low-income households.
Individuals living in low-income households are more likely to experience poor physical and mental health, as well as educational attainment. This can have a long-term impact on their lives, as it can limit their opportunities for employment and advancement.
The impact of low-income households also extends to families. Low-income households are more likely to experience poverty and financial insecurity, which can have a significant impact on their ability to provide for their children.
The impact of low-income households also extends to society. Low-income households are more likely to be living in deprived areas, which can lead to higher levels of crime and lower levels of educational attainment. This can have a long-term impact on the economic prosperity of the UK.
Government Policies to Tackle Low Income in the UK
The UK government has implemented several policies to tackle low-income households. One of the most significant policies is the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW).
The NLW applies to all employees over the age of 23. It is currently set £9.50 per hour. This rate is set to increase to £10.42 per hour in April 2023.
In addition, the UK government has also introduced a range of tax credits and benefits for low-income households. These include Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit. These initiatives were created to help low income individuals and families cover their basic living costs.
How Unions can Help Create a High-Wage Economy
Unions have an important role to play in creating a high-wage economy by advocating for better wages and working conditions.
In addition, unions can also help to reduce income inequality by negotiating better wages and working conditions. Moreover, this can help reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
Finally, unions can also help to reduce the gender pay gap by advocating for equal pay for equal work. This can help to reduce the number of women in low-income households and create a fairer economy.
Strategies to Create a High Wage Economy
There are a number of ways of creating a high-wage economy. The first strategy is to invest in training and education. This creates a skilled workforce equipped for the jobs of the future. This can help to create better-paid jobs and reduce the number of people in low-income households.
The second strategy is to invest in infrastructure. Investing in infrastructure can help to create more jobs in the UK and make it easier for businesses to operate. This can help to create a more productive economy and increase wages.
The third strategy is to reduce income inequality. This can help to create a fairer economy and reduce the number of people in low-income households.
The fourth strategy is to increase the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage can help to ensure that all employees in the UK are able to earn a fair and decent wage. This can help to increase the incomes of those in low-income households and reduce the number of people in low-income households.
Finally, the fifth strategy is to reduce the gender pay gap. Paying women at the same rate for the same work is essential. It will help to reduce the number of women in low-income households and create a fairer economy.
The Role of Employers in Creating a High-Wage Economy
Employers also have an important role to play in creating a high wage economy. For example, investing in training and development for their employees can help to create a more skilled workforce and create better-paid jobs.
In addition, when employers commit to paying a living wage it can also reduce income inequality.
Finally, paying women the same as men will reduce the gender pay gap. Over time this will lead to fewer households with a single primary wage earner.
How to Create a High Wage Economy and Tackle Low Income in the UK
The UK has faced a continuously increasing challenge of low income amongst its citizens. This article will explore the meaning of low income in the UK, the devastating effects it has on individuals, families, and society, and the strategies to create a high wage economy that can tackle this issue.
What Does Low Income Mean in the UK?
Low income in the UK is generally defined as an income that is below 60% of the median UK income. This threshold is known as the Low Income Cut-off (LICO). In the year ending March 2020, a household made up of a couple with no children would be in low income with an annual household income of up to £17,100 before housing costs and £14,800 after housing costs. This definition of low income has been used by the UK government since the early 1990s.
In addition to this definition of low-income, the UK government also takes into account the number of people in a household and the size of a household. The UK government also considers other factors such as employment status, disability, and age when assessing an individual or family’s income. For example, individuals who are disabled may be eligible for disability benefits, which can help them to increase their income.
UK Low Income Statistics
The number of people living in low-income households has been steadily increasing in the UK in recent years. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), over 14 million people in the UK are living in low-income households. This figure is the highest it has been in more than 20 years.
In addition, the ONS has also reported that single-parent households, people with disabilities, and those in rented accommodation are more likely to be living in low-income households. In particular, single-parent households are more than twice as likely to be living in low-income households than other households.
Furthermore, the ONS also reports that there is a significant gender gap in the UK when it comes to low-income households. In 2019, 54% of those living in low-income households were women. Meanwhile the number of men living in low-income households was 46%.
We Need Action To Deal With This Problem.
Of course what is considered a low income UK wide is dependent on the area of the country in question, but that does not mean that some regions should benefit while others are left behind. Workers all over this land deserve a pay rise, and they deserve one now.
So if you want to join a modern organisation that fights for better wages, visit our Why Join page and see how we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the United Kingdom, a variety of tax reliefs are available to low–income individuals. These include the Personal Allowance, Marriage Allowance, Blind Person‘s Allowance, and Working and Child Tax Credit. These can be claimed through HM Revenue & Customs.
Yes, there are grants and loans available for people on a low income in the UK. These include the Warm Home Discount Scheme, Cold Weather Payment, Winter Fuel Payment, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit.
There are a range of benefits available to people on low incomes in the UK, including Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. There are also a range of other benefits available including help with housing costs, free school meals, and access to free prescriptions.
Anyone who is in receipt of a low income and meets the eligibility criteria can claim benefits in the UK. This includes people who are unemployed, self–employed, working part–time, and those on a low income despite working full–time.
Low income can have a serious effect on people‘s quality of life as it can lead to financial hardship, poor health, and social isolation.