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The truth about pay in our regions

The truth about pay in our regions

01 May 2014

By Jennie Formby, Unite Political Director

With a general election only a year away it is in the interests of the Prime Minister and his Chancellor, George Osborne to talk up figures that seem to show that our economy is growing but as Larry Elliott, the Guardian’s economic editor argues; “Don’t believe the hype”.

It is in the electoral interests of the Tories and their allies in the media to repeat endlessly the mantra that ‘they had to clear up the mess left behind by the last Labour government’.  It wasn’t true but as a rhetorical device it seemed to have done the trick.  

The reality is that levels of inequality are staggering.  We’re back to pre 1914 levels.  The rich really do get richer.  

As Larry Elliot made clear in a recent analysis of the Office of National Stastics (ONS) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, wages over the past decade have been historically low.  Despite claims to the contrary it is questionable whether wages are actually rising:

“The government’s measure of average earnings is a mean.  If pay increases are skewed to those on the better-paid jobs, the mean can increase while most workers’ pay increases less quickly than inflation.  Average earnings excluding bonuses (which tend to go to those on higher incomes) are rising by 1.3% a year, which is still below the official inflation rate of 1.6%."

To counter the government’s rhetoric and hype along with our colleagues in Unite’s research department we have looked at what has really happened to our members’ wages in the regions of the UK.  You can find yours here:


The truth about pay in London
The truth about pay in Northern Ireland
The truth about pay in Scotland
The truth about pay in the East Midlands
The truth about pay in the North East
The truth about pay in the North West
The truth about pay in the South East
The truth about pay in the South West
The truth about pay in the West Midlands
The truth about pay in Wales
The truth about pay in Yorkshire and Humber
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