DCSIMG

Scots £1,700 a year worse off than 3 years ago

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

THE average earner in Scotland is more than £1,700 worse off compared with three years ago.

Data on wages from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that, across the UK, pay rose by 2.1 per cent in the year ending April 2013, to an average of £27,000 a year.

But with inflation rising by 2.4 per cent, the figures show wages are continuing to fall behind the cost of living.

While the rise in wages is higher than many expected, it is the fifth year running inflation has outpaced wages.

Union leaders in Scotland said full-time earnings had now fallen by 6.2 per cent since 2010, when inflation was factored in.

The biggest fall in earnings had been for those earning the least, ensuring that income inequality was increasing, they said.

In cash terms, it means the average earner is £1,753 worse off than they would have been if pay had kept pace with

inflation.

The figures also revealed the gender gap between men and women has increased from 9.5 per cent in 2012 to 10 per cent this year – the first time in five years that men’s earnings have risen faster than women’s.

Men’s full-time median gross hourly earnings, excluding overtime, grew by 2.5 per cent to £13.60, while women’s were up 1.9 per cent to £12.24.

The drop in spending power will put further pressure on UK ministers, amid warnings from Labour over the “cost-of-living crisis”.

Last week, Chancellor George Osborne reacted by moving to lower increases in energy bills and cancel a proposed rise in fuel duty.

Scottish Trades Union Congress general-secretary Grahame Smith said: “While today’s figures are not as bad as some anticipated, it must be stressed that they do confirm yet another real-terms fall in median earnings in Scotland.

“The ongoing squeeze on real wages is without precedent in modern times and most workers are simply not benefiting from the supposedly strengthening recovery”.

He added: “There are other real causes for concern in the data published today, not least the rise in the gender pay gap at UK level.”

The figures show the bottom two income brackets have seen the biggest real-terms falls in earnings since 2010.

Those working part-time did relatively better than those working full-time. Part-time pay rose by 3.1 per cent over the year, outpacing inflation.

Among specific professions, farmers did best, with their pay increasing by 22 per cent. Undertakers also did well, with earnings rising by 20 per cent.

Others who had a good year included travel agents (up 17.3 per cent), barristers and judges (up 15.7 per cent), TV engineers (up 13.2 per cent) and social scientists (up 13.1 per cent).

Workers in the glass and ceramics industries fared worst. Their pay fell by 13 per cent between April 2012 and April 2013, the ONS figures showed.

Others who experienced a comparatively large cut included cooks (down 9.5 per cent) and library clerks (down 8.2 per cent).

UK consumer and equalities minister Jo Swinson told the Commons yesterday: “The best way to tackle the cost-of-living crisis is to make sure that we get on with building a stronger economy which will support jobs and growth. That is what the government is doing.”

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