The famous Greggs sausage roll now has a new role as a cost of living indicator. A leading economist came up with the idea of using the famous savoury treat as a way of linking pay rates and cost of living. It measures where in the country you have to work the hardest to afford the iconic pastry.
This is not the first time that a fast food favourite has attracted the eagle eye of an economist. In the 1980s the Economist coined the ‘Big Mac Index’. This time, the almost ubiquitous, Newcastle based Greggs bait box filler, the humble sausage roll, is the focus of Senior independent economist, John Hawksworth, who has calculated the amount of time needed for a typical full-time employee to earn enough to purchase the tasty treat.
According to Teesside Live:
“He found the hardest earned sausage rolls were in Lichfield (four minutes, 54 seconds) followed in joint second by Middlesbrough, Nuneaton, Truro and Hereford (all four minutes and 48 seconds). The Greggs Sausage Roll Index is the first known use of ‘Sausage Roll-onomics’ as a benchmark tool to compare living standards across Great Britain.”
The index is calculated using the price of the Greggs sausage roll plus Office of Statistics (ONS) date on median hourly pay in a region.
A serious side to the sausage roll index
Although this all sounds like a bit of fun, there is a serious side in terms of exposing the differences and inequalities across regions, hardly showing that ‘levelling up’ is working.
“In part the analysis is a bit of fun with the 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.”
The easiest places in which to earn your sausage roll were mainly in the south east, with London at the very top (two minutes 58 seconds) followed closely by Oxford (three minutes 15 seconds).
This means that some people can earn them faster than they can eat them whilst others should linger over the luxury of the hard earned pork-filled prism while they can.