Recent research from the New Economic Foundation shows the biggest drop in living standards since Victorian times; with women and part-time workers suffering disproportionately. NEF also draws attention to a low wage public sector, with the worst off being health and social care staff, classroom assistants and council employees. Retail workers come out lowest in the private sector. One in four local authority employees is now on low pay, defined by NEF as less than 60% of the average national income, £7.47 an hour or £13,600 a year.
In another report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 6.7 million “hard-working families” were below the poverty line; whereas 6.3 million of retired families and unemployed are in a similar position. Contrary to government propaganda, “hard-working families” in and out of work are not moving out of poverty. The chief executive of JRF said, ” Hard work is not working. We have a labour market that lacks pay and protection, with jobs offering precious little security and paltry wages that are insufficient to make ends meet.”
Government can only claim that the ‘trickle-down’ effect will come about when growth increases and corporations’ profits grow – the lie that Thatcher spread far and wide. Every worker in this country has a duty to themselves, their families and our class to stop the descent into Victorian destitution.