We’re much worse off now than we were 10 years ago

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points of view - by Paul Fran­cis Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor pfran­cis@thek­m­group.co.uk @PaulOnPol­i­tics

The earn­ings of Kent work­ers have dropped by nearly 17% since 2007, it has been claimed.

An anal­y­sis by the GMB union of gov­ern­ment data shows mean an­nual earn­ings for those in full time jobs have fallen by 16.7% over the pe­riod – once in­fla­tion is taken into ac­count.

Kent is the third worst-af­fected area of 18 dif­fer­ent au­thor­i­ties in the south east.

The fig­ures come as a po­lit­i­cal de­bate con­tin­ues on whether the gov­ern­ment should lift the 1% cap on salary lev­els for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers.

The GMB says its anal­y­sis shows that both Kent and Med­way “have a lot of ground to make up on earn­ings lev­els be­fore the re­ces­sion”.

Ac­cord­ing to the data, taken from gov­ern­ment statis­tics in the An­nual Sur­vey of Hours and Earn­ings, mean earn­ings in Kent ac­tu­ally rose by £2,014 – 6%– over the pe­riod. In 2007, the av­er­age was £33,391, in­creas­ing to £35,405 in 2016.

How­ever, once in­fla­tion was taken into ac­count, earn­ings ac­tu­ally fell by 16.7%.

The av­er­age fall in earn­ings across the south east re­gion be­tween 2007 and 2016 was 12.8%.

The GMB said that the fig­ures were just as sig­nif­i­cant as the pub­lic work­ers pay cap.

Paul Maloney, GMB South­ern re­gional sec­re­tary, said: “There are still 18 ar­eas in the south east where earn­ings are be­low the level of 2007 once in­fla­tion has been taken into ac­count.

“We need sev­eral years of growth to fill the gap and to meet the ever ris­ing cost of hous­ing.

“As well as lift­ing the pay cap in the pub­lic sec­tor, ac­tion is also needed in the pri­vate sec­tor to se­cure de­cent pay rises.”

The GMB said work­ers’ rights in the pri­vate sec­tor should be strength­ened to stop em­ploy­ers hold­ing down pay lev­els.

A Trea­sury spokesman said:

“We are tak­ing ac­tion to help fam­i­lies in­crease their in­comes and take home more of what they earn. A ba­sic rate tax­payer now pays £1,000 less in­come tax than in 2010 and thanks to the Na­tional Liv­ing Wage the poor­est house­holds have seen their wages rise more than in any other G7 econ­omy.”

‘Earn­ings are be­low the level of 2007 once in­fla­tion has been taken into ac­count’

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