More working but inflation hits UK pay rises


London - Families are facing a crisis in living standards because workers’ pay rises have been wiped out by inflation, trade unions and economists have said.

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File image of a London street. Picture: Nicola Mawson

The warning comes despite good news for the jobs market.

The Office for National Statistics said the number in work rose to a record R31.8 million in the three months to February, while the unemployment rate was frozen at 4.7 per cent, the lowest in a decade.

David Freeman, of the Office for National Statistics said: ‘Higher inflation, coupled with subdued earnings increases, means the real growth rate in pay has tailed off to just above zero.’

Read also: UK inflation rises less than expected

Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday revealed inflation has remained steady at 2.3 per cent in the year to March. Meanwhile, weekly earnings including bonuses rose by 2.3 per cent in the year to February. The

Office for National Statistics said that adjusted for inflation, this amounted to a 0.2 per cent rise.

The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said: ‘We need urgent action to stop another living standards crisis.’ Economist Samuel Tombs, of Capital Economics, warned ‘households are being caught in a perfect storm’.


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