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  • Britain’s highest earners have enjoyed 7.6% real pay rise over last two years
  • Real wages have remained flat for those on average pay
  • High earners would be boosted further by Boris Johnson’s £9.6bn tax “giveaway”, says TUC

Pay for the top 1% of earners has increased faster than for any other income group over the past two years, according to new TUC analysis published today (Saturday).

The analysis shows that pay for Britain’s highest earners (those earning £63 an hour or more – or £2,300 and above for a full-time week) increased by 7.6% in real terms between 2016 and 2018.

By contrast, real wage growth for the typical worker increased by just 0.1% over the same period.

The TUC warned that the gap between those at the top and average workers would get worse under plans floated by Boris Johnson for tax cuts for higher earners – that would cost the Treasury around £9.6bn a year.

The union body says no serious attempt has been made this decade to rein in excessive pay, with Theresa May rowing back on her promise to put workers on company boards.

Average pay is still worth less in real terms than before the financial crisis, with UK workers suffering the longest pay squeeze since Napoleonic times.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“While millions struggle with Britain’s cost of living crisis, pay for those at top is back in the fast lane.

“We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest 1%.

“Boris Johnson's promised tax giveaway to high earners would only make things worse. The prime minister is focused on helping his wealthy mates and donors – not working people.”


Notes to editors:

- The share of wages (national income) going to the top 1% has doubled since the 1980s.

- These figures come from TUC analysis of hourly earnings in the ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Detailed figures are available on request.

- These figures look at hourly pay increases between 2016 and 2018 for each percentile of earners. Hourly pay for those in the top 1% of earners starts at £63 an hour. This is the equivalent of £2,300 for a 37-hour week.

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.6 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.

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