Working people in some parts of the UK have been hit by the longest squeeze to the wage packets in more than two centuries, with some earning up to £100 a week less in real-terms compared to 2008, shocking new analysis reveals.
These are the findings of new research by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who say average take home pay is still well behind pre-crisis levels.
The analysis shows which local authority areas have suffered the biggest hit to real wages (wages once the cost of living has been taken into account) since the financial crash, warning average pay packets in some parts of the UK are unlikely to recover to their 2008 level until at least 2024.
TUC claim real wages are still lower than a decade ago in 34 of the region’s 43 local authority areas. And only four areas have seen the value of wages increase by 5% or more since 2008.
According to the analysis, the North West has been hardest hit by the wage slump, where the average has lost out on £14,230 in real earnings since 2008.
For example: Workers in Fylde are still earning 23% less in real terms than a decade ago – the equivalent of £153 a week.
The next worst areas are Blackburn and Darwen and Ribble Valley where real wages are still down by 15%, followed by Trafford (-13%) and St Helens (-13%).
The analysis also shows that wages are still failing to keep pace with living costs, despite recent increases in the minimum wage. Among the worlds most advanced economies, only Italy has seen a similar level of average wage depression.
Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett said: “Cuts and austerity mean Local Authorities are forced to make awful choices every year, but in Salford we have prioritised staff pay since day one.
“Good terms and conditions of employment aren’t just a core principle of the Labour movement, they’re also the only antidote to poverty and the best way to deliver services we can with the resources we have left.
“Our City Council has been involved in extensive service re-design, including the capitalisation of salaries where appropriate, to make sure we keep staff on and pay them properly.
“We have been a living wage local authoirty since 2013 – the first in Greater Manchester – and our Employment Standards Charter was launched in the same year.
“I was proud to announce a 10% increase for Care Workers in Salford last year – all of this is only possible because our council is committed to looking after the people who deliver the vital services that keep our society functioning.”
Leader of Preston City Council Councillor Matthew Brown said: “It is disappointing to see these statistics for the North West, which show that a large percentage of people living in the region are still not earning enough to cover the cost of living.”
“However I am pleased to say that Preston is bucking the trend, with numbers that are improving year-on-year. This includes the rising rates of employment, increased number of living wage employers and a higher earning rate for part time workers than in any other district in the county.
“This has been in part due to our policies to improve wage levels and tackle inequality. There is still much work to be done to improve the economic situation but we are proud to be leading by example of key issues.”
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “The government has failed to tackle Britain’s cost of living crisis. As a result many families across the region will be worse off this Christmas than a decade ago.
“While pay packets have recovered in most leading economies, wage growth in the UK is stuck in the slow lane.
“Ministers need to wake up and get wages rising faster. This means giving all public sector workers the pay rise they have earned and giving unions the right to bargain in more workplaces.
“And it means boosting the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.”