Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region 'Has Seen Seven Years of Falling Pay'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region 'Has Seen Seven Years of Falling Pay'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

REAL wages have fallen in the North East, leaving working people poorer.

New data compiled by House of Commons officials reveals wages have fallen by an average of 0.1% each year in real terms since 2010.

The figures were published by the Labour Party as part of its campaign to highlight plans for a major increase in the minimum wage if it wins power.

Average weekly pay in the North East, including any bonuses such as overtime, is PS503 a week, according to official figures - up from PS492 a week in 2013.

But the new study looks at what has happened to wages in real terms, which means after inflation is taken into account.

It found that wages in the North East fell in real terms by 0.1% a year on average over the past seven years.

The good news for the region is that this is the smallest fall in the country.

The people hit hardest by wage cuts are in London, where earnings fell by 1.2% a year in real terms.

However, the North East still has the lowest average wage of any part of England, and any part of the United Kingdom except Northern Ireland. In London, the average weekly wage is currently PS753.

Pay rises for public sector workers are currently frozen at 1% a year while inflation is 2.6%. This means that they are being cut in real terms each year.

But many workers in the private sector have also suffered real-terms pay cuts.

And official figures show the cost of some essential items has risen even faster than the overall inflation rate. According to the Office for National Statistics, the cost of clothing and footwear rose by 3.2% in the 12 months up to July 2017. The cost of fish rose by 7.4% in this period and the cost of fruit rose by 3.6%. One of Labour's proposals is a major increase in the national living wage, effectively the new minimum wage.

Labour says it expects to increase this to PS10 an hour in 2020, if it is in power, and to ensure it applies to every worker over the age of 18. …

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