Issue date
14 Dec 2018
Pay packets are worth over £100 a week less in some parts of the North West than in 2008, according to new analysis published by the TUC today.

The analysis shows which local authority areas have suffered the biggest hit to real wages (wages once the cost of living has been taken into account) since the crash.

People working in Fylde have the most ground to make up. They are still earning 23% less in real terms than a decade ago – the equivalent of £153 a week.

The next worst areas are Blackburn and Darwen and Ribble Valley where real wages are still down by 15%, followed by Trafford (-13%) and St Helens (-13%).

There have been sharp falls across the region in both poor and affluent areas.

Real wages are still lower than a decade ago in 34 of the region’s 43 local authority areas. And only four areas have seen the value of wages increase by 5% or more since 2008.

The worst pay squeeze in 200 years

The analysis shows that as a result of pay not keeping pace with the cost of living, the average worker in the North West has lost out on £14,230 in real earnings since 2008.

UK workers are suffering the longest real wage squeeze in more than 200 years, with average pay packets not set to recover to their 2008 level until 2024.

The UK is only of two advanced economies (along with Italy) where real wages are still lower than a decade ago.

TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said:

“The government has failed to tackle Britain’s cost of living crisis. As a result many families across the region will be worse off this Christmas than a decade ago.

“While pay packets have recovered in most leading economies, wage growth in the UK is stuck in the slow lane.

“Ministers need to wake up and get wages rising faster. This means giving all public sector workers the pay rise they have earned and giving unions the right to bargain in more workplaces.

“And it means boosting the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.”

"The numbers in the North West also tell a story - local economies that are trying different things such as Preston and Salford are starting to see improvements in pay. Places like Fylde, having suffered during the recession, have now taken a second hit as well paid jobs in manufacturing and public services have been lost."

Commenting on their numbers, Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett said:

"Cuts and austerity mean Local Authorities are forced to make awful choices every year, but in Salford we have prioritised staff pay since day one. Good terms and conditions of employment aren't just a core principle of the Labour movement, they're also the only antidote to poverty and the best way to deliver services we can with the resources we have left."

"Our City Council has been involved in extensive service re-design, including the capitalisation of salaries where appropriate, to make sure we keep staff on and pay them properly. We have been a living wage local authoirty since 2013 - the first in Greater Manchester - and our Employment Standards Charter was launched in the same year. I was proud to announce a 10% increase for Care Workers in Salford last year - all of this is only possible because our council is committed to looking after the people who deliver the vital services that keep our society functioning."

Commenting on their numbers, Leader of Preston City Council Councillor Matthew Brown said:

"It is disappointing to see these statistics for the North West, which show that a large percentage of people living in the region are still not earning enough to cover the cost of living."

"However I am pleased to say that Preston is bucking the trend, with numbers that are improving year-on-year. This includes the rising rates of employment, increased number of living wage employers and a higher earning rate for part time workers than in any other district in the county. This has been in part due to our policies to improve wage levels and tackle inequality. There is still much work to be done to improve the economic situation but we are proud to be leading by example of key issues."

Editors note

Figures for each local authority are below. An additional release with further comment on Preston and Salford figures will follow. Please contact us if you require further information

Real wage growth by North West local authority since 2008

Local authority

2008 (real)

2018 (real)

% change

£ Cash change

Fylde

659

507

-23

-153

Blackburn with Darwen UA

436

370

-15

-66

Ribble Valley

469

400

-15

-70

Trafford

489

425

-13

-64

St. Helens

441

385

-13

-56

South Ribble

467

408

-13

-59

Warrington UA

500

441

-12

-59

Liverpool

476

422

-11

-54

Wigan

410

364

-11

-45

Rochdale

427

382

-11

-45

Bury

433

389

-10

-44

South Lakeland

416

374

-10

-42

Chorley

424

383

-10

-41

Sefton

391

356

-9

-35

Stockport

452

413

-9

-39

Hyndburn

409

376

-8

-33

Lancashire

440

407

-8

-33

Halton UA

495

458

-7

-37

West Lancashire

438

407

-7

-31

Burnley

405

377

-7

-28

Merseyside

440

409

-7

-31

Eden

422

398

-6

-24

Wyre

367

350

-5

-18

Lancaster

406

387

-5

-19

Cheshire East UA

458

438

-4

-21

Greater Manchester MC

448

428

-4

-20

Oldham

394

381

-3

-13

Manchester

493

478

-3

-14

Wirral

387

376

-3

-11

Bolton

399

390

-2

-9

Pendle

428

422

-1

-6

Tameside

402

399

-1

-3

Cumbria

420

418

-1

-2

Allerdale

363

362

0

-1

Blackpool UA

348

348

0

0

Preston

443

448

1

5

Salford

451

462

2

11

Carlisle

379

389

3

10

Barrow-in-Furness

422

441

5

19

Rossendale

358

382

7

24

Knowsley

467

500

7

33

Copeland

715

766

7

51

Cheshire

NA

NA

NA

NA

Source: ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

Cumulative real wage loss by UK region/nation 2008-2018

Region/nation

£ loss

North East

-£4,890

North West

-£14,230

Yorkshire and The Humber

-£12,680

East Midlands

-£12,920

West Midlands

-£9,220

East of England

-£11,470

London

-£20,390

South East

-£13,590

South West

-£14,420

Wales

-£7,100

Scotland

-£6,180

Northern Ireland

-£7,270

United Kingdom

-£11,840

Source: ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

- A full list of all local authorities can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y9x3pbbw

- Real wage drops in each local authority were calculated by finding the difference between median Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) for all workers in each LA in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2008 and ASHE 2018. The percentage change is a change from the 2008 figure. 2008 wages were adjusted to take inflation into account (CPI, April 2018=100). Only local authorities with available data in 2008 and 2018 were used.

- The cumulative real wage loss figures were found by adding up the difference in median AWE for all workers ASHE2008 and each subsequent year. Figures for 2008-2017 were adjusted into 2018 prices (CPI, April 2018=100).

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Contacts:

Jay McKenna

jmckenna@tuc.org.uk

07788414578/0151 482 2710

TUC press office
media@tuc.org.uk
020 7467 1248