WAGES fell by 0.2% in the year to June was the shock news released by the ONS yesterday.
Britain is now a nation of the working poor, for those who are lucky enough to have jobs!
The ONS also revealed that despite registered unemployment falling in the three months to the end of June, the numbers of the ‘self-employed’ rose to a massive 4.5 million.
The Unite trade union said workers are increasingly being ‘forced into “self-employment” by employers who want to swerve their responsibilities.’
The unemployment rate fell to 6.4% in the quarter, the lowest since late 2008 and down from 6.5% in May, while the number of people registered unemployed fell by 132,000 to 2.08 million.
The shock news remains that average wages, including bonuses, fell 0.2%, the first fall since 2009, leading the Bank of England to halve its forecast for average wage growth, saying it now expects average salaries to rise by 1.25% this year.
The ONS said the number of people successfully claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell for the 21st month in a row in June, by 33,600 to 1.01 million.
Meanwhile, homes in London cost twice as much as properties in the rest of England and Wales, according to new figures released by the Land Registry yesterday, with an average house in central London worth over £1.64 million, up from £1.47 million last year.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there are still a lot of uncertainties to contend with, given a record participation in the jobs market, ‘remarkably weak’ wage rises and a rising number of threats to the global economy.
However, he insisted, whenever interest rates do increase, they will do so gradually. ‘What we are putting emphasis on, is the path of interest rates, which is limited and accommodative,’ said Carney.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey accused the government of ‘the systematic lowering of the living standards of ordinary people’.
‘Millions of people feel insecure in their jobs. Hundreds of thousands of our young people are languishing on the dole or press-ganged into workfare. Inflation is still running at 1.9 per cent – more than three times the rate of earnings.’
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Underemployment is now a bitter reality for millions of struggling families across the UK. And many have no option but to work part-time because they cannot find a full-time job.
‘Too many people are stuck in minimum-wage jobs, on zero-hours contracts and part-time work when they are desperate to go full-time.
‘Desperate because they need regular, secure employment to feed their families without having to resort to foodbanks, pay their bills without falling into the grip of pay day lenders and decent pay to rebuild consumer confidence and grow the economy.’