The government has claimed that in February real wages caught up with inflation and employment has increased. Here are the facts:
- Average wages grew by 1.4%
- But the government used the figure of 1.7%, which includes bonuses.
Cost of Living
- The Retail Price Index (RPI), which includes housing costs, rose by 2.5%
- But the government used the figure of 1.6%, which is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which excludes housing.
So the truth is that in February, on average, a worker was really 1.1% worse off then the previous month. Living standards continue to fall.
Unemployment in the UK is now at 6.9%, down from a peak of 8.4% in 2011. Youth unemployment is now at 20% down from 22% in 2012. But analysis of the growth in jobs in fact shows that the real growth is in job insecurity. 44% of the growth since 2010 is in self-employment with pensioners and part-time workers the fastest growing group. Workers of 50 years or older, account for half of the increase. Workers of 65 years or older are the fastest growing group, increasing by 29% since 2010.
Most new jobs are casual jobs to replace permanent, secure jobs. In many sectors including the caring areas previously covered by the public sector many of the ‘self-employed’ do the same work from which they were made redundant, but now without rights. Average income for the ‘self–employed’ dropped by a fifth between 2006 and 2010. The average income for self-employed women is now £10,000 a year. The annual number of people starting new businesses has fallen by 52,000 since 2010. For a detailed analysis see http://www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/economic-analysis/labour-market/labour-market-and-economic-reports/more-two-five-new
Inequality in Britain
Britain is now the 4th most unequal country in the world, an achievement for the Tories and Liberals. Shame on us all that we let them do it.
Graph: From Left Foot Forward http://www.leftfootforward.org/