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