Why the recent changes to the UK minimum wage won’t help many workers looking to rent in Birmingham

May 1st 2016

Following the recent change in the UK’s national minimum wage, TotallyMoney.com decided to look into how affordable housing is to people working low income jobs Birmingham and the surrounding area, and the results are shocking. Minimum wage workers on 37.5 hour weeks would only be able to rent one-bed properties in nine of the 77 postcode areas analysed without spending more than 35% of their wages on rent. For this research the newly increased minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over (£7.20 an hour) has been used. Housing and homelessness charity Shelter say that affordable housing is defined as spending no more than 35% of your income on rent, which means that unless you are willing to part ways with a good chunk of your wage package, Birmingham is quickly becoming an unaffordable place to live for many people on low income jobs. The most expensive postcode area was in the centre of Birmingham, with the central B2 postcode topping the list, requiring workers to earn at least £14.49 an hour (about £37,000 per year) if they want to find a one bed property near Birmingham New Street train station. TotallyMoney.com CEO Alastair Douglas said of the research findings: ‘Rising rent prices are making living in the UK’s large cities nearly impossible for many people with low income jobs. ‘This can often have the effect of turning large cities such as Birmingham into areas where only wealthy people can comfortably rent accommodation, which furthers the rental property crisis. ‘Here at TotallyMoney.com we are committed to making the credit market a fairer place and saving the consumer money. We hope that this research will highlight the problem of rapidly rising rent prices and help people in their search for affordable housing.’

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