Issue date
26 Oct 2017

New figures published today (Thursday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that UK workers are still significantly worse off than they were before the financial crash.

The ONS figures show that for the year to April 2017 real wages in UK were £38 (7.9%) below their 2008 level.

Inflation has overtaken wage growth for the last 6 months, so the TUC is concerned that next year could be even worse.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Most families still haven’t recovered from the financial crash, yet their pay packets are now taking another hammering. It’s leaving millions of working people facing hardship and getting deeper into debt.

“Public sector workers have had it especially hard, with real pay cuts for seven long years. The Chancellor must use next month’s budget to give them the pay rise they’ve earned.

“He should also use the budget to help bring great jobs to every community, by investing in skills and infrastructure, like transport links and fast broadband. And he must help low-paid workers by raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.”


Editors note

- UK regional and national changes to average weekly earnings from 2008 to 2017

Change from 2008 to 2017 in £ per week

Change from 2008 to 2017 in %

North East



North West



Yorks and the Humber



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England






South East



South West









Northern Ireland






- The calculations are based on median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees, from Table 12 of ‘ASHE 1997 to 2017 selected estimates’ dataset. An adjustment has been made for the change of industrial classification from 2011. Prices effects are removed using the CPI measure of annual inflation for April of each year through to April 2017. CPI was the government’s preferred measure of inflation until 2017 and is preferable to CPIH when looking at earlier years, because the treatment of housing costs in CPIH changed significantly in 2014.
- Household debt: TUC analysis published earlier this year found that unsecured debt per household is set to pass its pre-financial crisis peak in 2017, and will exceed £15,000 by 2020. More information is here:
- Families in working poverty: The most recent official figures on poverty show that in 2015/16 there were 5.8 million working-age adults below the poverty line (on the government’s preferred relative low income measure, before housing costs). Of these, 3.2 million (55%) were in working families.
- About the TUC: 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 50 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.