National Express celebrates Living Wage Week

  • The Living Wage Foundation announces new real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour, up from £9, an increase of 30p per hour
  • National Express West Midlands, which is headquartered in Birmingham, has wrapped a bus in Living Wage branding in celebration of the movement in the region
  • The rate is independently calculated to reflect the increased cost of living and is £1.09 per hour more than the minimum wage (for over 25s)
  • Nearly 6,000 UK businesses currently pay the voluntary real Living Wage rate; 219 of which are headquartered in the West Midlands
  • Since 2011, £43,614,112 in extra wages has gone into workers’ pockets in the West Midlands 
  • New research by KPMG has found there are 2.1 million jobs in the West Midlands (21%) still paying less than the real Living Wage[1]

Workers in the West Midlands must earn £9.30 an hour in order to cover the cost of living, as the Living Wage Foundation today announces its new Living Wage rates.  

The Living Wage rates are the UK’s only independently calculated wage rates based on what people need to live in the UK and London. The 2019 increases have been largely driven by increases to private rental and childcare costs.  

The average annual pay boost for a real Living Wage worker in the West Midlands is over £2,000. That’s more than a year’s gas and electricity bills, according to calculations by the Living Wage Foundation.[2] 

There are now more than 219 West Midlands based Living Wage Employers that have voluntarily gone beyond the Government minimum to pay a real Living Wage.   

This year a Living Wage advertising campaign kicked off celebrations in Birmingham.

The region's largest private Living Wage Employer National Express West Midlands launched a tour of a Living Wage bus, whilst billboards highlighting the extent of low pay in the city and encouraging employers to accredit were launched with the support of Birmingham City Council. 

David Bradford, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said: 

“We are proud to be the region’s largest private real Living Wage Employer and we want to encourage other local employers to follow suit and help boost the city’s economy.  

“Over 600 National Express employees have benefitted from our commitment to the real Living Wage that meets the actual cost of living, not just the statutory minimum. This uplift adds up to over £2.3 million which has gone back into our hard-working employees’ pockets. 

“We also welcomed National Express Accessible Transport to the group this summer, giving 500 more employees a pay rise to the real Living Wage rate. Our staff work incredibly hard to transport millions of passengers a year all over the country and its important that we recognise their efforts.”  

Baldev Singh Ruprai, Driver for National Express Accessible Transport, said: 

“The real Living Wage helps me pay towards my household bills and also helps me save some money for my kids for the future. It makes me feel that the company appreciates the person who is working for them.  

“I think other employers should pay the real Living Wage because their employees would appreciate the extra money to help with their living costs.”  

Eileen Whitmore, Cleaner for National Express West Midlands, said: 

“Being paid the real Living Wage has made a big difference to me because I can now put savings away for holidays, which I couldn’t afford to do before. 

“I’ve got four grandchildren so it’s nice to be able to put money aside for them in the future and to treat the kids to a meal out every now and then, too.”  

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

“Today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a welcome pay boost for thousands of workers throughout the West Midlands. Responsible businesses know that the real Living Wage means happier, healthier and more motivated workers, and that providing workers with financial security and stability isn’t only the right thing to do, but also has huge business benefits.”  


Living Wage Week from 11-16 November 2019 is a UK-wide celebration of the nearly 6,000 employers that have voluntarily committed to ensure employees and subcontracted staff earn a real Living Wage. This includes over a third of the FTSE 100 and major household names such as Burberry, Nationwide, Lush, Heathrow Airport and Oxfam.   

[1] KMPG/Markit research has calculated data on the real Living Wage since 2012. For more information on KPMG research please contact KPMG press office.   

[2] Combined prepayment average gas and electricity bill = £1,314. (DECC Quarterly energy prices, 2018 - Combined annual gas and electricity bill  

About the Living Wage Foundation  

Only the real Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and in London. Employers choose to pay this wage on a voluntary basis. The real Living Wage applies to all workers over 18 – in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else. It enjoys cross party support.    

The UK Living Wage for outside of London from Monday 11th November is £9.30 per hour. The London Living Wage is £10.75 per hour. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK and in London.   

The Living Wage Foundation is the institution at the heart of the independent movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe that a hard day’s work should mean a fair day’s pay. We recognise and celebrate the leadership shown by the more than 6,000 Living Wage Employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to ensure their staff earn a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living. We are an initiative of Citizens UK.    

What is the real Living Wage?    

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and updated annually (not the UK government’s National Living Wage). It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. According to the Living Wage Foundation, since 2001 the campaign has impacted over 210,000 employees and delivered over £1bn extra to some of the lowest paid workers in the UK.   

How is the real Living Wage different from the government’s National Living Wage?   

In April 2016 the government introduced a higher minimum wage rate for all staff over 25 years of age inspired by the Living Wage campaign, calling it the ‘National Living Wage’.    

The government's 'National Living Wage' is not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live. That's why the Living Wage movement campaigns for all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.

Published 11th November 2019