Cost-of-living crisis: Dacorum wages fall behind in real terms
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Wages in Dacorum have dropped in real terms over the last year as inflation soared, new figures show.
Across the UK, real terms wages have fallen again, while strike action across a range of industries is due to take place every day until the end of the year. The Trades Union Congress said working people "have been pushed to breaking point" and urged the Government to engage in meaningful pay talks with unions.
Office for National Statistics figures show monthly median pay for employees in Dacorum sat at £2,483 in November – up from £2,419 the month before. Monthly pay in the area has risen by 8% in the last year, as the rising cost of living hits people's wallets.
But the Consumer Prices Index inflation accounting for owner occupier's housing costs (CPIH) – which the ONS uses to calculate real-terms pay – sat at 9.6% in the year to October, the highest since records began in 1989. It means that people's pay packets in Dacorum are not going as far as they used to, despite the rise in salary.
Across the UK, real-terms pay between August and October fell by 2.7% compared to the same period the year before – slightly above the record 3% drop seen between April and June. Ben Harrison, director at the Work Foundation, said workers face "stark challenges" because of inflationary pressures on their pay packets and are being forced to make difficult decisions, including whether to turn the heating on as freezing temperatures bite.
The ONS data revealed a widening gap between private and public sector pay across the country, growing by 6.9% and 2.7% respectively – among the biggest differences seen on record. Frances O'Grady, general secretary at the Trades Union Congress, said ministers must increase pay packets immediately, starting with a pay rise for public sector workers to match the cost of living.
Ms O'Grady said: "The Prime Minister should stop attacking working people trying to defend their pay, and sit down to negotiate fair pay rises with unions.
"For too long, ministers have been stonewalling negotiations and hiding behind pay review bodies.
"They are more interested in playing political football with disputes than resolving them."
Meanwhile, unemployment continued to gradually rise after reaching its lowest point since 1974 earlier this year. The jobless rate sat at 3.7% in the three months to October – up from 3.6% in the previous quarter.
In the East of England, unemployment fell from 3.1% in the three months to June to 2.7% in the following quarter.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said high inflation and Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine continue "to plague economies around the world".
Mr Hunt said: "To get the British economy back on track, we have a plan which will help to more than halve inflation next year – but that requires some difficult decisions now.
"Any action that risks embedding high prices into our economy will only prolong the pain for everyone, and stunt any prospect of long-term economic growth.
"We are committed to helping people back into work, and helping those in employment to raise their incomes, progress in work, and become financially independent."