Wages stagnate – UK now in the Euro relegation zone

The media might be talking about "booming Britain", but the reality for millions of workers is very different. New data shows how far wages have fallen in the UK.

Wages and salaries in the UK have fallen at one of the fastest rates across the EU say figures collated by the House of Commons library.

The data reveals that, on average, hourly wages have fallen by 5.5% in the UK since the middle of 2010 – after being adjusted for inflation.

This is the fourth worse decline recorded in all of the EU members states. Overall EU average wages fell by 0.7%.

The UK is now only just ahead of Denmark, Greece and Portugal – who have all experienced steeper declines.

Even those economies subjected to financial bailouts, including Spain and Cyprus, only saw wage drops of just over 3%, whilst 18 EU countries saw a 0.1% drop in the period. German workers enjoyed a boost of 2.7% in hourly wages within the same period.

This means that on average a UK worker will have lost £6,600 by 2015 (the year of the expected General Election) and will be receiving £1,520 net less income per year in 2015 than they were five years earlier.

Long term pay freezes in the public sector and sub inflation increases still prevalent in the private sector are adding to the misery. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, has also revealed  that a third of UK workers who had stayed in the same job had faced wage cuts or pay freezes between 2010 and 2011.

Despite the media overdrive on “booming Britain” in the past few days and the welcome improved manufacturing figures  the underlying trend is that UK workers are falling behind European counterparts. Also the improvement in manufacturing figures is still being lead predominantly by the UKs automotive sector which rose by 5.3% and contributed 0.7 %  to the monthly rise.

With cheap, increased borrowing and house prices rising – household debt is growing again against a background of wage stagnation. Also very worrying (as the TUC’s Duncan Weldon pointed out on Twitter) UK productivity per hour across the whole of the economy is now down by just over 5% from its peak in 2007. We are still a long way from boom time!

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