Are National Living Wage Workers Being Priced Out of Manchester?

Manchester might have forged its name through industry and counter-culture, but rising rent prices are set to push lower-income workers to the outskirts of the city.

We’ve looked into affordable housing in Manchester’s M postcode area and mapped out how much you would have to make an hour to find affordable accommodation.

national living wage workers on 37.5 hour weeks would only be able to rent one-bed properties in seven of Greater Manchester’s 43 postcode areas without spending more than 35% of their wages on rent. Housing and homelessness charity Shelter say that 'affordable' housing is defined as spending no more than 35% of your income on rent.

Graphic map of Manchester postcodes and the minimum hourly wage needed to afford a one-bed rental

Affordable postcodes are in white. Postcodes with insufficient data have been left blank.

The current national living wage in the UK is £6.70 per hour for workers aged 21 and over, however on 1 April 2016 this was raised to £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.

While workers making £6.12 per hour will be able to afford a one-bed in the M45 postcode area, to find a similar property in M2 in Manchester’s central district they would need to make at least £26.35 an hour.

Would the national living wage of £8.25 proposed by the Living Wage Foundation help Mancunians? Workers earning £8.25 per hour would be able to find a one-bed in 17 of the 43 postcode areas.

Manchester has long been considered as one of the UK's cultural and business centres, however this research suggests the city's rising rent prices threaten to make living there a financial impossibility for many people on low income.

Of course, national living wage workers living in Manchester might be happy they don’t live in London, as recent research revealed that not a single postcode in the capital offers one-bed rentals which can be affordably rented on minimum wage.