While most of us have been told to stay at home to fight coronavirus from the comfort of our kitchens and lounges, many low-paid key workers in hospitals, supermarkets and other workplaces are risking their health to keep the country running.

On Wednesday (April 1), the government’s minimum wage – re-branded as the National Living Wage in 2015 – increased to £8.72 an hour, up from £8.21. However, the Living Wage Foundation calculate that a real living wage that reflects the actual cost of living and is the minimum needed to cover basic expenses such as rent, food and bills should be £10.75 an hour London and £9.31 in the rest of the UK.

Commenting on the new national minimum wage rates, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Britain is indebted to its army of minimum wage heroes. Many – including care workers and supermarket staff – are currently on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus. They deserve every penny of this increase, and more.

“The best way to show our respect is to get the minimum wage up to a real living wage as soon as possible.

“Millions of low-paid workers are struggling to make ends meet. That’s not right during a pandemic – or at any time.”