Labour hits out as research shows pay cut for low and middle income earners

Posted On: 
10th August 2019

Workers in low to middle paying jobs have seen a “real” wage drop under the Conservatives while high earners have seen a 4% increase since 2010, according to research by the TUC.

"The Tories have made low pay the new normal," says John McDonnell
Credit: 
PA Images

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell seized on a report from the trade union umbrella group which shows that  workers in jobs paying between £9.56 and £12.73 an hour have seen their "real" wage drop 1% since 2010 after inflation is accounted for.

For workers earning between the wage rate of £12.73 and £25.45 per hour, pay rates have on average fallen 3% in the period.

Brexit uncertainty blamed as UK economy shrinks for the first time in six years

Waste management industry & Gov't can make the circular economy a reality

No-deal Brexit 'a foolhardy gamble that poses fundamental risk to economy', say MPs

Kate Bell from the TUC told the BBC median wages were not where they were before the financial crisis "so a little bit of pay pick-up in the last couple of months... doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet".

Ms Bell added: "People in middle earning jobs have seen their pay fall. Jobs like those in construction, the local government in administrative jobs for example you've likely seen your pay go down over this period. That has an impact on your ability to live and ability to pay your bills."

But the TUC analysis shows that the 1.1 million highest income earners, banking above £25.45 per hour worked, saw average pay rates rise 4% since 2010.

However, the lowest-paid workers have seen average real pay rates increase 5%, thanks to minimum wage rises. 

Mr McDonnell said: "The Tories have made low pay the new normal.

"It's staggering that millions of people have faced cuts to their real pay since 2010 while the highest earners have had their pay skyrocket.

"This Boris Johnson-led government doesn't care about the conditions people face in or at work - in June, Boris Johnson couldn't even say what the living wage is."

He added: "A Labour Government will establish a real living wage of at least £10 an hour and give workers and their trade unions more power to end the scandal of the low-pay economy."

But Conservative deputy chairman Paul Scully said: "The facts are that under the Conservatives, the unemployment rate - and the proportion of low paid workers - have both fallen to a record low, and our National Living Wage is delivering pay rises for millions of people across the country."