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Dublin: 19 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Cheaper food, but higher rent: Living wage increases to €11.70 an hour

The current housing crisis has been the main driver of the increased wage rate.

shutterstock_309161147 Source: Shutterstock/Kaesler Media

THE 2017 LIVING wage has been set at €11.70 per hour, up from €11.50 last year.

The wage is determined by the Living Wage Technical Group, which was set up in 2014. The group comprises researchers and academics.

The 20 cent increase has been driven by changes in the cost of living and changes in the taxation system over the past year. The current housing crisis, and associated increases in rent levels, has been the main driver of the increased wage rate.

The technical group noted that, over the past year, rents have increased across Ireland. In Dublin, rent accounts for almost half (47%) of a single person’s living costs and increased by over €15 per week, on average. In other cities, rents increased by over €12.50 per week on average, and elsewhere in Ireland rents increased by over €6 per week.

lv Source: Living Wage Technical Group

The cost of food, clothing, health insurance and social inclusion all reduced in 2017. Electricity and natural gas prices also brought a drop in urban household energy costs, although rising home heating oil prices impacted on rural households. Additionally, changes to the Universal Social Charge (USC) increased net pay for a person earning the living wage, when compared to 2016.

The technical group said these savings are undone by rising rents, adding: “The overall cost of a socially acceptable minimum standard of living increased by an average of 2% for a single person, without dependents.”

The living wage is updated in July of each year. It is part of a growing international trend to establish an evidence-based hourly income that a full-time worker needs so that they can experience a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.

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Órla Ryan

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