A Labour MP has claimed that pay has plunged in the Bradford district since the Coalition came to power according to a new analysis – leaving workers £25 a week worse off.
The analysis was carried out for Tom Blenkinsop, a Labour MP in the North-East, who blamed years of pay freezes – or near freezes – for many workers.
He says wage packets have failed to keep pace with higher-than-expected inflation, puncturing the Government’s attempts to convince voters that economic recovery has arrived.
Mr Blenkisop said: “The statistics show that average weekly pay, before tax, in Bradford was £381.10 last year, the most recent available figure.
“But – if earnings had risen in line with inflation since 2010 – that figure would have stood at £406.16, a difference of £25.06, or 6.2 per cent.
“The pain has been even greater in Calderdale, where average 2013 pay of £370.50 is £47.24 lower (11.3 per cent), when adjusted for three years of inflation. And workers in both Kirklees (down £31.49, or 8.4 per cent) and Leeds (down £33.40, or 7.3 per cent) have also taken a heavy hit.
“In addition, there has been an explosion in part-time working and zero hours contracts, which has further cut the amount staff are taking home.”
Mr Blenkinsop added: “People are not working as much as they want to, nor earning as much as they need to.
“The effects can be seen in working people going to foodbanks and in people turning the heating off so they can eat.
“The increase in food sales at Aldi and Lidl shows it isn’t just the working classes who have reduced purchasing power on the High Street.”
The fall in pay was calculated by adding three years of CPI inflation – adding up to 10.25 per cent, said the MP – to official 2010 earnings figures.
This amount was then compared to the most recent pay figures, for 2013, and found to be lower in every district in West Yorkshire.
David Cameron hit back at Labour’s “cost of living crisis” attack, arguing take-home pay is rising for all but the top ten per cent.
However, No 10’s figures were widely criticised for including cuts in income tax, while excluding changes to child benefit and tax credits and the boom in self-employment. And the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank has warned living standards are unlikely to reach their pre-recession levels before next year’s general election.