THE amount of money working people will have lost in real terms under coalition rule would be enough to pay for the average family’s weekly shop for a year-and-a-half, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie has claimed.
Taking into account inflation, workers will have lost £6,660 by the time of the next election and incomes will be £1,520 lower in cash terms in 2015 than in 2010, Labour’s analysis of Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts showed.
David Cameron’s record of 35 consecutive months of falling real wages is worse than any other prime minister on record and spending power has dropped in every month but one under coalition rule as price rises outstrip wage increases, the analysis claimed.
Apart from Mr Cameron, James Callaghan is the only PM on record to have overseen more than a year of constantly falling real wages, it added. Real wages fell for 17 consecutive months under Mr Callaghan – less than half the total period of consecutive real wage decreases under the current government.
By the next election, working people will have seen their spending power cut further than in any other G7 country since the second half of 2010.
Mr Leslie said: “It is a reduction in real wages over that period of £6,660 which for a lot of people will resonate.
“That’s enough to pay for the average family weekly shop for almost a year-and-a-half, it’s enough to get a new car, albeit quite a small one at a stretch, but it’s quite a significant sum.”
But government whip Mark Hunter blamed Labour for “crashing the economy”. The Liberal Democrat MP said: “The reason the cost of living is high is because Labour crashed the economy. For them to criticise the coalition for cleaning up their mess is hypocritical.”