Wages fall over past seven years, say Labour

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

REAL wages have fallen in the West Mid­lands, leav­ing work­ing peo­ple poorer.

New data com­piled by House of Com­mons of­fi­cials re­veals wages have fallen by an av­er­age of 0.4 per cent each year in real terms since 2010.

The fig­ures were pub­lished by the Labour Party as part of its cam­paign to high­light plans for a ma­jor in­crease in the min­i­mum wage if it wins power.

Av­er­age weekly pay in the West Mid­lands, in­clud­ing any bonuses such as over­time, is £535 a week, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures. This was up from £517 a week in 2013.

But the new study looks at what has hap­pened to wages in real terms, which means af­ter in­fla­tion is taken into ac­count.

It found that wages in the West Mid­lands fell in real terms by 0.4 per cent a year on av­er­age over the past seven years.

The good news for the re­gion is that this is a smaller fall than else­where. The peo­ple hit hard­est by wage cuts are in Lon­don, where earn­ings fell by 1.2 per cent a year in real terms.

Pay rises for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers are cur­rently frozen at one per cent a year while in­fla­tion is 2.6 per cent. This means that they are be­ing cut in real terms each year.

But many work­ers in the pri­vate sec­tor have also suf­fered real terms pay cuts. And of­fi­cial fig­ures show the cost of some es­sen­tial items has risen even faster than the over­all in­fla­tion rate.

Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, the cost of cloth­ing and footwear rose by 3.2 per cent in the 12 months up to July 2017. The cost of fish rose by 7.4 per cent in this pe­riod and the cost of fruit rose by 3.6 per cent.

But the Con­ser­va­tives pointed out that more peo­ple are ac­tu­ally in work than ever be­fore.

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