This is how many minutes people in Preston have to work to earn enough for a Greggs sausage roll compared to other parts of the country

A nationwide cost of living index published today reveals how long people in 100 towns and cities across the UK must work to earn enough money to buy a sausage roll from Greggs.

By Jon Peake
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 11:17 am

The Greggs Sausage Roll Index is loosely modelled on the famous Big Mac Index published by The Economist since 1986 to measure purchasing power across different nations. chose the humble sausage roll as its yardstick because, like the Big Mac, it is a standardised product sold by the same provider on every high street. Greggs sells approximately 2.5million sausage rolls a week across more than 2,000 shops with takeaway sausage rolls typically priced at £1.05.

In Preston, people have to work for four minutes and 16 seconds to earn enough to buy a sausage roll – 67th in the list.

The hardest-earned sausage rolls were in Lichfield (4mins and 54secs) followed in joint second by Middlesbrough, Nuneaton, Truro and Hereford (all 4 mins and 48secs), while the fastest-earned sausage rolls were mostly in the South East with London (2mins 58secs), Oxford (3mins 15secs), Slough, Guildford (both 3mins 16secs) and Derby (3mins 17secs) making up the top five.

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The humble sausage roll - one of the UK's favourite snacks

The index did not include petrol forecourts and travel hubs where a premium is often charged to cover higher real estate costs. These were considered “outlier sausage rolls” and therefore excluded. Full-time employees are defined as those working at least 30 hours per week on average during the period of the survey.

Publication of the index comes just weeks after the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities released its levelling up white paper which outlined the government's plans to target geographic inequalities. Critics have branded it “unambitious” and “lacking detail.”

Meanwhile, Greggs has warned customers they may have to work even harder for their sausage roll in the future, with a raft of price hikes expected later in the year.

John Hawksworth said: “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.” 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 just to be able to afford a sausage roll.

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

“The government is going to have to take urgent action if their flagship policy doesn’t become a millstone around their neck.”