Wales’s squeezed middle

Economy A variety of pound notes and coins
NewsMarch 19th, 2013

New figures on long-term trends in wages and the economy have shown that while wages have risen since the 1970s, the economy’s stuttering performance over the last five years has seen average incomes for this middle fifth of workers falling by 8.8% since 2008 when inflation is taken into account, according to ONS statistics.

Commenting in the Western Mail on 19th March 2013, Dr Victoria Winckler, director of the Bevan Foundation, said: “The figures suggest that the typical household is a lot better off than they were in the 1970s – and certainly many middle income families today enjoy a way of life that was unthinkable 35 years ago as the ownership of consumer items such as computers, TVs, mobile phones and cars has mushroomed and home ownership have increased substantially.

“But what’s really striking is that middle incomes are virtually unchanged in the last ten years. The upward trend in household income began to stall in 2004-05 – before the current recession – and since then has flat-lined.

“Yet during this time the cost of basics such as housing costs, food and fuel has rocketed at above the average rate of inflation. On top of this households do expect that their standard of living will rise year on year. No wonder they feel squeezed.

“The link between GDP and household income is crucial – it confirms that getting the economy moving is vital to increasing the incomes of ordinary people, whether at UK level or here in Wales.”

Tagged with: Media coverage


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