Fall in Wages Puts Britain in Europe's Bottom Four
Cusick, James, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Only workers in Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands have fared worse over the past three years
British workers have suffered one of the biggest falls in real wages among European countries over the past three years - with only The Netherlands, and crisis-hit Greece and Portugal, doing worse.
New figures collated by the House of Commons Library show a 5.5 per cent drop in wages after inflation since 2010. This follows other recent national statistics on the rising cost of living and a substantial fall in living standards since the first of George Osborne's austerity budgets was delivered three years ago.
The shadow Treasury secretary, Cathy Jamieson, said the figures, released by the Labour Party yesterday, showed that not only was Britain worse off under the Conservative-led coalition, but the UK was doing much worse than most other EU countries.
Ms Jamieson said: "Life is getting harder for ordinary families, as prices continue rising faster than wages." She attacked David Cameron and the Chancellor as "failing badly over the past three years, with working people paying a heavy price".
The new wages and salaries analysis, covering the 11 quarterly figures since autumn 2010, showed Greece faring worst, with an 11.3 per cent drop, and Bulgaria leading the index with a 13.2 rise in real wage levels. Britain's two main EU competitors, France and Germany, both showed increases in real wage levels.
Professor John Van Reenen, director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, described the fall in real wages in the UK as "stunning - and something that did not happen in previous postwar recessions in Britain". He said the weak performance reflected poor growth and linked it to falling GDP and national income, "which is now 3.5 per cent smaller than it was before the financial crisis".
Professor Van Reenen added: "Labour is right to say that if the Government had pursued better policies, such as not cutting investment so dramatically since 2010, then growth would have been better and living standards higher."
Labour's renewed …
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Publication information: Article title: Fall in Wages Puts Britain in Europe's Bottom Four. Contributors: Cusick, James - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: August 11, 2013. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.