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Average wage in Swindon has dropped by a fifth
WAGES in Swindon have been hit hardest by the recession according to GMB, Britain’s General Union, as new figures show the real value of average earnings has fallen by more than 20 per cent since 2008.
The town was one of 20 that saw the amount its residents’ pay packet could buy drop sharply in the past five years, far above the national average of 13.4 per cent.
The figures were based on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, which provided data from 2008 to 2013.
Overall nationally, wages rose by an average of four per cent, but this was set against a 17.8 per cent inflation rate between April 2008 and November 2013.
In contrast, average wages in Swindon fell during this period by 3.1 per cent, from £26,100 to £25,297.
The worst-affected area during the recession was Hammersmith and Fulham, where the value of earnings plummeted by almost 50 per cent, as the average wage fell dramatically from £65,452 to £44,963.
The only area in the UK to see any benefit to wages over the last five years was Moray in Scotland, which had a one per cent increase.
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “These alarming figures show how hard-pressed working people across the UK are struggling to pay their bills after years of wage decline and attacks on the living standards of families throughout the land.
“Working people deserve and need a decent pay rise to halt the drop in living standards.”
Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said the figures were skewed against a recent rise in employment, particularly in the retail sector, which would bring the average wage down.
He said: “There has been a massive increase in employment in Swindon. Most of those new jobs have been in retail centres that have opened. It isn’t that people’s wages have decreased, just that the new jobs have a slightly lower average wage.
“Swindon has seen one of the fastest rates of growth in start-up businesses and new jobs, and the town has shown it can recover from economic challenges.
“As this takes a grip we will start to see average wages rising. Over the last 12 months, youth unemployment in North Swindon has fallen by 23.1 per cent. The dramatic fall in youth unemployment will bring down the average wage as they take their first step on the career ladder.
“In 2008, the two areas hardest hit by the crash was financial services and manufacturing. Since then we have seen businesses like Honda coming back to where they were before the recession, and financial services are recovering very well. It is those jobs which will bring the figure back up.
“As the economy takes grip the corporate jobs start to flow in and average wages will rise quicker.
“The key for us is to make sure Swindon continues to attract new jobs and start up businesses, and that we share that growth among all our residents.”
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