British workers worse off than a decade ago


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The Independent Online

British workers have experienced a lost decade of earnings growth thanks to the global financial crisis, with average real wages no higher in 2012 than they were in 2003, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Median real wages peaked at £12.25 per hour in 2009, but by last year they had slumped 3 per cent to £11.21 per hour, roughly the level of a decade ago. The damage was done by high levels of inflation and a rolling series of meagre company pay settlements since the financial meltdown, the ONS said.

Private-sector workers in London are paid more than the national average but they experienced a more severe squeeze over the past three years than those in the rest of the country, leaving them worse off than a decade earlier. The real average earnings of male full-time employees in the capital was £16.14 per hour in 2002, but in 2012 that had fallen to just £15.54, a 4 per cent decline.

The earnings of self-employed workers have also experienced a slump in the past decade. The average weekly earnings of the self-employed, now 14 per cent of the workforce, have fallen from £275 in 2008 to £210 in 2010.