date: 13 February 2013
embargo: For immediate release
Commenting on figures released today (Wednesday) by the Office for National Statistics, which show that average earnings have fallen back to 2003 levels, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:
'Official figures now confirm what everyone knows. Living standards have been falling for the vast majority, and there is no sign of change.
'But on top of the wage squeeze, the government has been making it worse with cuts to tax credits, the freeze in child benefit and a VAT hike. Millions of low-income families - both in and out of work - are now threatened by the bedroom tax and the one per cent cap on benefits. The cost of living goes ever upwards with the costs of essentials such as food, fuel and energy continuing to increase.
'This is in sharp contrast to the few at the top where bonuses and huge salaries allow them to float free from the rest of us. They are now looking forward to the top-pay tax cut due in April.
'Yet the economy will not recover until people have money in their pockets to spend, and businesses can know that their customers feel confident. The challenge for the government is to reverse austerity and start boosting wages and incomes for the majority. That is the only route to growth.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The ONS figures can be found at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/regional-trends/regional-economic-analysis/changes-in-real-earnings-in-the-uk-and-london--2002-to-2012/art-changes-in-real-earnings-in-the-uk-and-london--2002-to-2012.html
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Issued: 13 February, 2013