AVERAGE weekly earnings in the UK are £13 lower than they were a decade ago, a think tank study has found. Job insecurity is now ‘widespread’, with 800,000 workers on zero-hours contracts, according to the Resolution Foundation (RF).
The RF asked: ‘So who has found work? The evidence shows that those on lower-incomes, and people that tend to find it hard to access the labour market, have been the main beneficiaries. Between 2008-09 and 2016-17 employment increased by 2.1 million. ‘Over half (55 per cent) of the people that moved into work lived in households in the bottom third of the income distribution, two-thirds came from the poorer half of households.’
RF senior economic analyst, Stephen Clarke, said lower-income families had accounted for the majority of the jobs growth. He warned: ‘Britain is still some way off full employment and too much work remains low-paid and insecure. ‘Steps to provide advance notice of shifts and a right to a regular contract for those working regular hours on a zero-hour contract would also help those in work who have precious little job security.’
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘It’s taking wages longer to recover from this (2008) crash than it did after the Great Depression. ‘The government is turning a blind eye to Britain’s living standards crisis. Ministers must get wages rising faster now.’
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: ‘These figures show the disastrous impact of nearly a decade of austerity on earnings, with workers in the UK losing out under Tory rule. ‘The findings are a stark example of how brutal Tory pay restraint and austerity has led to a crisis in living standards for families.
‘Labour will be a government for the many, not the few. We will reverse the disastrous Tory austerity agenda and give workers a decent pay increase, while ensuring the richest pay their fair share of tax to fund the public services we all need.’