A Greggs sausage roll in Edinburgh costs nearly four minutes of work as cost of living soars

A ‘Greggs sausage roll index’ has been launched to gauge how the cost of living crisis is affecting different parts of the UK – and it found people living in Edinburgh had to work for three minutes and 35 seconds to earn their £1.05 savoury snack.

By Gary Flockhart
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 10:40 am
A ‘Greggs sausage roll index’ has been launched to gauge how the cost of living crisis is affecting different parts of the UK.
A ‘Greggs sausage roll index’ has been launched to gauge how the cost of living crisis is affecting different parts of the UK.

Compiled by leading economist John Hawksworth, the index looks at where people have to work the hardest to afford a sausage roll across the UK.

While it’s a fun approach to economics, it also has a serious side to it, demonstrating the great divide in living standards that still exists.

Personal finance website InvestingReviews.co.uk commissioned Hawksworth to study 100 cities and towns around the UK, using official data to expose regional inequalities in earning power.

It said “sausage roll-onomics” could be used as a tool to compare living standards across the country.

It was calculated using Greggs sausage roll prices and local median hourly pay estimates provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The approach was to take the latest available estimates of median gross hourly pay for full-time employees from the 2021 ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and adjust them according to the latest available estimate from the ONS of regular pay growth in the three months to February 2022 as compared to a year earlier.1

The fastest-earned sausage rolls were mostly in the South East of England, with London (2mins 58secs), Oxford (3mins 15secs), Slough, Guildford (both 3mins 16secs) and Derby (3mins 17secs) making up the top five.

At the other end of the index, the hardest-earned sausage rolls were Lichfield, Middlesbrough, Nuneaton, Truro and Hereford (all on four minutes and 48 seconds for one sausage roll).

People living in Edinburgh had to work for three minutes and 35 seconds, while those in Glasgow and Aberdeen had to work for three minutes and 38 seconds.

The Sausage Roll Index was inspired by the Big Mac Index, which has been published by The Economist since 1986 as a way of comparing the purchasing power of different nations based on the amount of work needed to afford a McDonalds burger.

Mr Hawksworth, former chief economist at accountancy giant PwC, said: “In part the analysis is a bit of fun with the Greggs sausage roll standing in for the Big Mac as a standardised product to compare purchasing power across different places. But it does also make the serious point that there are very large variations in income levels across our towns and cities.

“These local earnings gaps are driven by variations in productivity across places that reflect deep-seated disparities in education, opportunity and infrastructure across the country. Narrowing these income gaps remains one of the most important economic challenges facing this and future governments.”

InvestingReviews.co.uk CEO Simon Jones said: “Amid all the government’s talk of levelling up, a great divide still exists across Great Britain today with Greggs customers in some parts typically having to work 65% longer than Londoners to afford a sausage roll.

“As the cost of living squeeze continues to intensify, Brits are going to have to work a lot harder to afford life’s simple pleasures.”