The UK’s Poor Get Poorer as They Face Biggest Squeeze

The UK’s poorest families are the ones getting the biggest financial squeeze out of any household levels of wealth. The Trades Union Conference (TUC) has been analysing official figures that show that the UK’s poorest families are the ones feeling the financial squeeze more due to lower wage rises and higher rates of inflation.

Slower rising wages and high inflation which is affecting important bills such as food and simple utilities are making wages for lower paid UK citizens fall at double the rate of richer people.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that in the last year for the bottom 10% of earners wages rose on average by just 0.7% while for higher earner’s salaries increased on average by 1.6%. The bottom 10% of earners are facing higher effective inflation rates of 4.1% compared to 3.3% for the richest earners.

While the highest earners are doing better compared to their poorer counterpart, every wage group has seen a fall in real world wages since the coalition government came into power in 2010.

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The TUC called for more positive action to help the poorest families. The unfair balance shown in the figures has been a damaging blow to the coalition’s claims that we are “all in it together”.

Brendan Barber, outgoing general secretary said: “People have been getting poorer every month for the last two years as high inflation; tax rises and the dire state of the economy take their toll on family budgets.”

“Over the last year the poorest households have suffered more than anyone else from rising food prices and soaring gas and electricity bills. The chancellor’s obsession with raising VAT, along with swingeing cuts to tax credits, has made life even tougher for those on low to medium incomes.

“The government must start taking our living standards crisis seriously and put jobs and decent pay rises at the heart of its economic strategy. Dressing up plans to make it easier for businesses to sack people for no reason as some kind of pro-growth agenda will not help our economy one bit.”

The higher costs face by poorer families mean that many are getting further in to debt just to get by, which is evident in the fast rising trend of people using payday loans as a means to survive until they get their wages.

According to the figures by the ONS food is 4.6% more expensive than it was a year ago, while housing and utilities bills are 6.2% more expensive. Rising fuel costs are also impacting the money that poorer families have to spend.

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