Recession hits UK living standards

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The living standards of UK workers has fallen by up to 28 per cent over the past four years as a result of the recession and the “stalled” economic recovery, according to a new study.

Research for the GMB union showed an average fall of 5.9 per cent when wage rises were compared to inflation, with the highest figure of 28.6 per cent reported in Hammersmith and Fulham in London, followed by 22.7 per cent in Herefordshire, 20.7 per cent in Bedfordshire and 20.5 per cent in Nottingham.

The figure for Yorkshire was a drop of 7.1 per cent, with the biggest regional fall recorded in the North West, at 9.1 per cent.

Elsewhere in the country, the South West saw a fall of eight per cent, the West Midlands 7.6 per cent, and east of England, 7.3 per cent.

The smallest fall in living standards between April 2007 and November this year was 2.3 per cent in the North East, said the union.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “These figures show that the Government’s strategy for an economic recovery is in tatters as living standards in the UK drop by 5.9 per cent.

“George Osborne has the economic literacy of a stick of rhubarb. Full-time workers in all regions in the UK have seen the value of their earnings drop when they have a job.

“Things have got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery under way at the time of the election stalled and the country is mired in a new recession.

“Two thirds of the economy is consumer driven and Osborne must be the only person who does not get it.

“Squeezing wages, pay freezes and cutting jobs will not restart the economy.

“Using the IMF measures his cuts will reduce real private consumption by four per cent and GDP by 3.4 per cent over the next few years,” he said.

The figures were from an analysis by the GMB of official earnings data.