Since January 2009, full-time workers’ average weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) have fallen by 8 per cent, if the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used as the measure of inflation, and by 10.2 per cent when set against the Retail Price Index (RPI). Such a long and deep period of falling real average earnings is unique since 1945. The result: the real value of average weekly earnings is back to the level of 2002.
This holds across the whole class – men and women, public and private sectors, in all parts of Britain. The self-employed have seen an even bigger drop in their real average earnings – by 25 to 30 per cent in the three years to 2010/11. ■