'Britain needs a pay rise' Wages set for stagnant 5 years through cost of living 'storm'

According to their analysis, salaries will barely grow over the next five years following a period of already low growth. The figures show real wages are set to rise just 0.6 percent a year between now and 2026 giving an average worker an increase of just £150 a year. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said her one message for the Government is “Britain needs a pay rise”. She added: “Families are bracing themselves for a cost of living storm in 2022.

“Bills are rising – fuel bills fastest of all.

“Millions of working households have been hit by the cut to universal credit – and will be hit next year by the hike to national insurance.”

Even before the hit to the economy from Covid, the UK has struggled with low productivity and wage growth since the financial crisis.

According to analysis by the TUC, if pay growth returned to pre-crisis levels of around +1.9 percent per year workers would be better off by £500 a year – or £2,500 by 2026.

If growth had returned to these levels since the financial crisis workers would be around £8,000 better off over the last decade.

Ms O’Grady said the Government had “failed, over and over again” to get wages rising saying that 2022 needed “a long-term economic plan”.

Over the last decade the UK has experienced what economists have termed the ‘productivity puzzle’.

This has been characterised by productivity growth and wages remaining low since the financial crisis and consistently lagging behind other similar economies.

Despite low wage growth, the costs of goods and services has increased, rising particularly dramatically this year.

This week, think tank The Resolution Foundation branded 2022 the “year of the squeeze” highlighting the combination of inflation, increases to National Insurance and higher energy bills.

Although the minimum wage was increased by 6.6 percent in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, inflation is already at 5.1 percent and expected to peak at six percent next year.

In her New Year message, Ms O’Grady called for the minimum wage to be raised to at least £10 an hour, a ban on zero hours contracts and engagement from ministers and employers to find agreements on pay with unions.

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Giving social care as a key example, she explained currently three in five workers are still paid less than £10 an hour.

She concluded: “The Government can’t sit this wages crisis out.

“The pandemic showed us that our society keeps functioning because of the dedication of ordinary women and men, going to work day in day out.

“After decades of real wage cuts and falling living standards, no one can seriously say working people don’t deserve a pay rise.”


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