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  • Cost of items needed for a Christmas dinner has risen three times faster than wages in 2022 
  • If wages had gone up by as much as the cost of a turkey a worker on the average wage would have £76 a week extra in their pay packet 

  • Rising energy costs mean cooking the Christmas meal is set to be much more expensive  

  • TUC says ministers must urgently get pay rising to protect families from misery of recession 

The cost of Christmas dinner items has risen three times faster than wages this year, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Monday). 

The analysis shows the cost of traditional Christmas dinner items such as turkey, pigs in blankets, carrots and roast potatoes has risen by on average 18 per cent over the past year, even faster than the consumer price index at 11.1 per cent, while wages have risen by just 5.7 per cent.  

The cost of cranberry sauce and bread sauce have risen by 33 per cent - six times faster than wages.  

If wages had gone up as much as the cost of a turkey this Christmas, the average worker would have an extra £76 a week in their pay packet. 

The union body warns families are facing a difficult festive period as the cost of cooking a Christmas dinner will be considerably more expensive this year – with electric and gas prices rising by 66 per cent and 129 per cent respectively, according to latest inflation data. 

Today the TUC is calling on government to act urgently on the cost of living to protect workers from the misery of recession. 

The union body says ministers must:  

  • Give fully funded, cost-of-living proofed pay rises for public sector workers.  

  • Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible.  

  • Get pay rising across the economy by strengthening collective bargaining rights and increasing trade union access to workplaces. 

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Christmas should be a time for celebration. Everyone should be able to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings while they relax with their family. But soaring food and energy prices mean many families will struggle to afford the festivities. And the fact is many workers are dreading the new year. 

“Ministers can no longer ignore the crisis facing working families. The government needs to shield families from the misery of the coming recession. 

“That means raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible. It means a proper pay rise for our dedicated public sector workers. And it means getting wages rising across the economy for everyone.”  


Editors note

Christmas food vs wages data 

Christmas items 

 Price rise in 2022 by (%) 

Times faster than wages Pork (for pigs in blankets) 

18.2 Poultry (for turkey)  

19.7 Fresh or chilled vegetables other than potatoes and other tubers       

11.9 Potatoes 

19.9 Sauces, condiments, salt, spices and culinary herbs (for cranberry and bread sauce) 


04.5.1 Electricity 



04.5.2 Gas 



01.1 Food 



Sep nominal wage growth 




Pub sector 


- Food inflation data from latest ONS inflation figures:  

- Wages data taken from latest labour market figures Q3 2022: 

Wages vs Christmas turkey analysis based on:   

  • Sep 2021 (three-month average): 544 

  • Sep 2022 (three-month average): 575 

  • Change: 5.7% 

  • If wages instead had risen by 19.7%, Sep 2022 would be 651/ £76 a week  

 - About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


TUC press office 
020 7467 1248 

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