Average real wages – adjusted for inflation – fell by 3% between April and June compared to the same period last year, according to Office for National Statistics data published on Tuesday.
“The real value of wages continues to fall. Excluding bonuses, it is still the fastest fall at any time since comparable records began in 2001,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS. Tweet
Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose 4.7% between April and June, the ONS said, but with prices rising more rapidly, employees were left worse off.
Inflation has risen to a 40-year high of 9.4%, pushing the Bank of England to raise interest rates six times since December, and prices are expected to rise further later this year.
UK grocery price inflation reached 11.6% over the past four weeks, data firm Kantar said on Tuesday, the highest level it has seen in 14 years of tracking the data. Average annual shopping bills increased by £533 ($640).
A huge rise in energy bills – the average annual bill has already jumped 54% this year to nearly £2,000 ($2,410) – has plunged millions of Britons into a cost-of-living crisis, forcing many to choose between “heating or eating”. “
More pain is on the way. Annual energy bills for millions of homes could reach £5,000 ($6,000) next spring, according to estimates by research firm Auxillion.
“As real wages fall, the pressure on low-income families is ever-increasing. It’s not right that people are making increasingly impossible decisions about what necessities to give up,” said the anti-poverty charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation. On Tuesday Tweet
UK workers have been clamoring for pay rises in recent months to manage the squeeze. In June, thousands of rail workers went on strike to demand their wages rise in line with inflation, and further walkouts are planned this week.
On Tuesday, British Airways received an average 13% pay rise after thousands of check-in staff threatened to go on strike.
Unite, the workers’ union, said the increase would help reverse pay cuts staff took during the pandemic.