Ashworth: Families face “plummeting” wages because of government “failure”

Katie Neame
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Jonathan Ashworth has declared that the government’s “failure” on the economy has left families facing “plummeting” real wages after it was revealed that pay fell at a record pace between April and June.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest labour market statistics today, which found that real-terms regular pay fell by 3% over the last quarter when adjusted for inflation – the fastest decline since comparable records began in 2001.

Commenting on the findings, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said: “Today, we see yet another record fall in real wages, and further proof that the Tories have lost control of the economy.

“Because of the Tories’ failure on the economy, families face plummeting real wages and soaring energy bills. Yet, this zombie government is offering no solutions to the cost of living crisis.

“Labour will help build a secure economy and we will freeze energy bills so that people don’t pay a penny more this winter.”

The ONS revealed that average total pay (including bonuses) and regular pay (excluding bonuses) grew by 5.1% and 4.7% respectively between April and June. But its analysis found that, when adjusted for inflation, total pay fell by 2.5%, while regular pay fell by a record 3.0%.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone who works deserves financial security. But with the Bank of England predicting the worst decline in real pay for 100 years, energy bills soaring and a recession on the horizon, millions of working families are worried they won’t be able to keep their heads above water this winter.

“We need action from ministers now. They should cancel the increase to the energy price cap. And they must do far more to get pay rising – starting with boosting the minimum wage this autumn and giving public sector workers a decent pay rise.”

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said: “Although there are no easy solutions to the cost-of-living pressures people are facing, we are providing help where we can. We are delivering a £37bn package of help for households through cash grants and tax cuts so people can keep more of what they earn.”

Rachel Reeves demanded last week that Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss “stop playing to the gallery” and come up with a “serious plan” for the economy after it was revealed that the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) had fallen by an estimated 0.6% in June.

The Shadow Chancellor said: “The economy shrinking. Inflation skyrocketing. It is clearer than ever that the Conservatives have lost control of the economy.

“With the Bank of England forecasting a recession lasting the whole of next year, the Conservative leadership contenders need to stop playing to the gallery and start coming up with a serious plan to get Britain’s economy back on track.”

Reeves declared earlier in August that a sixth successive rise in interests rates was also “proof” that the Conservatives had “lost control of the economy”. The Bank of England raised interest rates by half a percentage point – the largest increase in the cost of borrowing for 27 years.

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