“We continually increase the Living Wage – last time by a record amount”

That was the claim from Boris Johnson yesterday in an interview with the BBC. The prime minister said he was “proud” that the government had “pumped up” the National Living Wage as part of a “jobs-first recovery” from the pandemic.

The National Living Wage has increased every year since it was introduced by David Cameron’s government in 2016.

It sets a legal minimum for workers across the UK aged 23 and over (younger workers are subject to lower rates on the National Minimum Wage).

But Mr Johnson’s claim that the most recent rise in the Living Wage was the highest ever doesn’t add up.

In April 2021, the Living Wage rose by 2.2 per cent compared to the previous year. But in April 2020, the rise was nearly three times larger at 6.2 per cent. And in 2019, the boost was 5 per cent.

In fact, the most recent rise was the lowest increase in the National Living Wage since the policy was first introduced.

We should say that 2021 was the first time that the National Living Wage had been expanded to 23- and 24-year-olds, meaning more people benefited from the payrise than in earlier years.

Downing Street was contacted for comment.