St Albans is one of the least affordable cities for people to live in if they earn the minimum wage, a study has found.
The area in Hertfordshire has been ranked third in a list of the UK’s priciest cities, with figures highlighting a significant shortfall between people’s pay and the cost of living.
The research found that the total monthly cost of living, including rent, in St Albans amounts to £1,917.
Read more: Minimum wage rates increase: What does it mean for me?
Accounting for income tax and national insurance, and factoring in the number of hours worked every month based on a 40-hour week, the take-home amount was compared to the monthly cost of living for a single person alongside the average rental prices for a one-bedroom flat or house.
This information was then used to identify how much disposable income is left over.
It meant that, for an apprentice in St Albans taking home net monthly pay of £708, there was a shortfall of £1,172.
The study discovered that disposable income in the city is -£1,117 for someone under 18 earning £760 per month; -£838 for a worker aged 18 to 20 with pay of £1,033; -£626 for someone aged 21 to 22 earning £1,233, and -£561 for those aged 23 and over taking home £1,294 each month on the National Living Wage.
London came second in the list of expensive UK places, while the City of Westminster was ranked first – the total monthly cost of living there equated to £3,449.
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Meanwhile Bradford was the most affordable UK city to live in on minimum wage, the research found. Total monthly living costs in Bradford equalling £1,015, less than a third of the City of Westminster’s monthly cost of living.
All of the cities that ranked in the top 10 for being the most affordable – such as Stoke-on-Trent, Hull and Sheffield – had very similar monthly living costs, with no city going above £1,150.
The research, by Investing Reviews, took the monthly cost of living for a single person, excluding rent, from global database Numbeo.
Average rental prices were taken for a one-bedroom flat or house from property website Zoopla.
As of 2021, the Government’s minimum wage rates range from £4.30 for an apprentice, to £8.91 for workers aged 23 and over.