Region’s wages lag far behind inflation, say unions

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FAMILIES across Yorkshire have been counting the cost of the recession upon their own finances, with wage growth lagging far behind inflation.

According to the Office for National statistics, average earnings in Yorkshire fell in real terms by 7.8 per cent between 2009 and 2012.

The impact was proportionally bigger in Yorkshire than many other areas. Gross disposable incomes fell from 91.5 of the national average in 2009, to 86.2 per cent of the average in 2011.

At the same time, homeowners saw the values of their properties plummet. Average house prices in Yorkshire fell 16 per cent in just over a year, between January 2008 and March 2009. They are only now returning to their pre-crash levels – meaning house prices are effectively the same as they were in late 2007. Over the previous six-year period, they had more than doubled.

Neil Foster, campaigns officer for the Yorkshire TUC, said: “Working people across Yorkshire continue to pay a high price for the global banking crisis. Many in our region have lost work, experienced falling real-terms pay and less secure employment. Westminster’s talk of recovery seems utterly at odds with many people’s lives up here.”

The Government, however, insists the low-wage figures do not take account of the low interest rates homeowners have now enjoyed for many years, and the 
repeated hikes of the income 
tax threshold which tomorrow rises to £10,000 – the highest in the G7.

“These tax cuts are helping with family budgets and are a boost to job creation and growth,” Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander said.