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‘Cruel illusion’

All not rosy in UK economy
Shaun Noble, Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

A 0.3 per cent drop in inflation is “cold comfort” for working people whose wages continue to fall in real terms, Unite said yesterday (July 18).


The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) June bulletin released today showed that despite inflation falling by 0.3 per cent from the previous month, it was still 0.6 per cent above the 2 per cent Bank of England target.


Inflation of 2.6 per cent is also above wage growth of 2 per cent, meaning people’s living standards are still falling.


Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “This slight fall in inflation is a cruel illusion that will be snatched at by desperate cabinet ministers trying to paint that everything is rosy with the British economy.


“However, for millions of workers in the public and private sectors, this is cold comfort as for almost a decade they have had to endure the biggest continued squeeze on pay since the start of the 19th century.”


The figures come after weeks of pressure on the government to scrap the 1 percent pay cap for public sector workers.


The issue has caused infighting within the government, with some ministers arguing for the cap to be lifted for certain professions.


Millionaire chancellor Philip Hammond, however, was quoted as saying that struggling public sector workers are “over-paid”.


‘Cold comfort’

Unite is calling for all public sector workers to be given a proper pay-rise and for the minimum wage to be increased to £10 an hour.


Cartmail said, “It is clear that the hard working, but long suffering working population of the UK needs a pay rise – and Unite today repeats its call for a minimum wage of £10-an-hour and the lifting of the public sector pay cap.


Families struggling

“Families are struggling to keep their heads above water, as the pound in their pocket shrinks when it comes to buying food, keeping up with mortgage and rental payments and paying ever-increasing utility bills.


“Glib comments attributed to the chancellor Phil Hammond that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ are just insulting – for example, the vast majority of the NHS workforce has seen their pay in real terms eroded by 17 per cent since 2010.”


TUC general secretary Francis O’Grady called on the government to take action.


She said, “The government must stop this cost of living squeeze. Many working people are caught in a vice as rising prices crush their pay.


“Ministers claim they are listening to struggling families. But now is the time to prove it. Britain needs a pay rise across the public and private sector.”




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