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'Disturbing’ Figures Showing Real Wages Dropped in 2017 Prove Government’s Economic Incompetence

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Real pay now down almost 5 per cent since financial crash showing Conservatives have no clue how to ‘make work pay’ says union.

GMB, Britain’s general union, has condemned both the Government’s handling of the economy and the public sector pay cap after official figures published today (26 October 2017) show wages shrank by 0.4 per cent in real terms in 2017. [1]

This was the first fall in three years - busting any myths of a recovery under the Conservatives.

Sharp falls in wage values after the financial crash were followed by a real terms increase between 2014 and 2016, but this tentative recovery has now been reversed.

The ONS compared average wage growth of 2.2 per cent in 2017 to CPIH inflation of 2.6 per cent and found that Britain’s workers endured a 0.4 per cent wage cut this year.

The official statistics said that wage growth averaged 4 per cent between 1997 and 2008.

Public sector workers whose wages remain the worst affected.

Average public sector hourly pay grew by 1.3 per cent on average in 2017, the new figures show.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

“These disturbing figures confirm what working people know and live every day - you can have a job and go to work but still struggle to pay the bills.

"Wages have gone down, prices have gone up - this Government are presiding over an economy where people are becoming poorer as they work their fingers to the bone.

“I don't know what it's going to take for this Government to wake up to the reality of the working right now.

"Either they don't know or don't care what's going on in real people's lives, otherwise we'd see and end to the public sector pay cap, a u-turn on cutting in-work benefits and an end to working people relying on foodbanks.

“The Prime Minister says she wants to build an economy that works for everyone – those words are as hollow as this supposed 'economic recovery'" .


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes for editors:

[1] ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings: 2017 (point four), 26 October 2017:

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