Tories blamed as living standards in Thurrock slump

WAGES in Thurrock fell by twice the national average and it is the coalition government who are to blame says the GMB union.

In what makes for bleak reading at the end of the year, Thurrock’s full time workers suffered the second worst fall in living standards in the region with a drop of 11.6%.

They were only “beaten” by Bedfordshire which saw a staggering 20% fall.

Thurrock was followed by Suffolk with a drop of 8.8%, Cambridgeshire with a drop of 8.7%. In Hertfordshire the real value of average earnings for full time workers is down by 7.7%, for Essex the fall is 6%. In all of the 10 areas in the region living standards are down including in Luton, Southend- on-Sea, Peterborough and Norfolk.

The fall for the UK as a whole is 5.9% and for England is 6.2% during the same period.

Paul Hayes GMB Regional Secretary for the Eastern Region said, “These figures show that the Government’s strategy for an economic recovery is in tatters as living standards in the Eastern region drop by 7.3%.

“George Osborne has the economic literacy of a stick of rhubarb.

“Full time workers in Bedfordshire, Thurrock, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Luton, Southend-on-Sea, Peterborough and Norfolk have seen the value of their earnings drop when they have a job.

“Things have got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery underway at the time of the election stalled and the region is mired in a new recession.

“Two thirds of the economy is consumer driven and Osborne must be the only person who does not get it. Squeezing wages, pay freezes and cutting jobs will not restart the economy. Using the IMF measures his cuts will reduce real private consumption by 4% and GDP by 3.4% over the next few years.

“I doubt if the electorate had any notion that a change of government would lead to a loss of 376,000 jobs across the UK and 31,000 in Eastern, in the public sector, in the short time since the general election.”

In the analysis GMB looks at the figure for annual average gross earnings of full time workers in each region/area from official ASHE data for April 2007 from ONS before the recession kicked in.

This figure is compared with the figure for annual average gross earnings for the same region/area from ASHE for April 2011.

The changes shown in annual average earnings between these two periods, plus an uprating for wage increases to September 2011, are measured against inflation over the same period to calculate the real change in the value of these earnings.

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