Could you live off the minimum wage?


The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage are the government-set minimum hourly rates of pay.

They currently stand at:

  • £7.50 for 25 and over

  • £7.05 for 21-25

  • £5.60 for 18-20

  • £4.05 for under 18

  • £3.50 for apprentices

However the Living Wage Foundation suggests that the minimum wage needed to actually cover the cost of living is £8.45 and £9.75 for those in London.

The disparity between the minimum wage and what is actually needed is reflected in the rise of in-work poverty.

While increased employment is always welcome, the number of those in-work and still struggling to get by is increasing.

One in every eight workers in the UK lives in poverty now.

Additionally, many self-employed workers, who are not entitled to a minimum wage, are also struggling.

Low pay, high rents and the cutting of in-work benefits seem to be the major causes of in-work poverty.

If an individual, aged over 25, works five days a week on the minimum wage for the average working year, they would have a yearly pay of £13,650.

However a single individual would need £17,900 to have a socially acceptable living standard, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Huudu was working for the NHS and raising his two children. However despite working full-time he could barely afford to pay his bills, rent, and food for his family.

As it started to get colder, he couldn’t afford to put the heating on, nor buy extra clothes for his kids.

Thankfully, Huudu got in touch with Turn2us and we helped him with housing costs. He could now afford child-friendly food and heating for their home

Huudu said: “If you are having difficulties, you can speak to Turn2us and find out if they can give you some assistance in dealing with your situation.”

Read our 'In Work - On a Low Income' page to find out more about the help available