Inflation drop a cruel illusion

Inflation drop ‘a cruel illusion’ for hard-up working people, says Unite

18 July 2017

The latest small drop in inflation is ‘cold comfort’ for millions of private and public sector workers who have experienced the biggest sustained squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic era, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 18 July).

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This slight fall in inflation is a cruel illusion that will be snatched at by desperate cabinet ministers trying to paint that everything is rosy with the British economy.

“However, for millions of workers in the public and private sectors, this is cold comfort as for almost a decade they have had to endure the biggest continued squeeze on pay since the start of the 19th century.

“It is clear that the hard working, but long suffering working population of the UK needs a pay rise – and Unite today repeats its call for a minimum wage of £10-an-hour and the lifting of the public sector pay cap.

“Families are struggling to keep their heads above water, as the pound in their pocket shrinks when it comes to buying food, keeping up with mortgage and rental payments and paying ever-increasing utility bills.

“Glib comments attributed to the chancellor Phil Hammond that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ are just insulting – for example, the vast majority of the NHS workforce has seen their pay in real terms eroded by 17 per cent since 2010.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation fell to 2.6 per cent in June, down from 2.9 per cent the month before. The falling price of fuel and computer games is said to have eased the pressure on household spending power.

But this came against a background of annual total pay in real terms sinking by 0.7 per cent to its lowest level since the summer of 2014 in the three months to May and fell by 0.5 per cent excluding bonuses over the period.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065 Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.