Ashfield folk see fall in wages

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The average weekly earnings for both men and women living in Ashfield have fallen in the past three years according to figures obtained from the Government.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero tabled a written parliamentary question asking what change there has been in the median gross weekly earnings for both men and women since the present Government came to power in 2010.

And although Ms De Piero expected the figures to show a drop in residents’ wages, she said she did not expect them to show such a large decline.

For male employees, the figures released by the Office for National Statistics show the median weekly earnings in 2010 were £498.10, while for women they were £312.10.

But by 2013, these had fallen substantially.

The average weekly earnings for a male living in Ashfield is now £438.60, while for women it is £285.50.

This means that men have seen a fall in earnings of £59.50 - or 12 per cent - and women have seen their wages decrease by £26.60, or 8.5 per cent.

Ms De Piero said that when you combine the average female and average male earnings together, what you have is a family ‘significantly worse off than a couple of years ago’, especially considering how much the cost of living has gone up at the same time.

She said: “These shocking figures show why life has got tougher and tougher for people in Ashfield since this Government came to power.

“Given such a drop in wages and such a rise in food and energy bills, that continue to rise, it is galling to hear ministers say the good times are back.

“Life continues to be a daily struggle for most people and that is why I’m calling for an immediate freeze in energy bills and for the return of the ten pence starting rate of tax, which would mean a tax cut for most people in Ashfield.

“It’s just not right that hard working people are paying the price and that’s why those earning more than £150,000 a year should pay more in tax.”

Since the worldwide financial crisis began in 2007 the UK economy has shrunk and thousands of people have lost their jobs or had their wages frozen.

Ashfield Citizen Advice Bureau’s chief executive Sue Davis said that they are seeing more people seeking help because they cannot make ends meet after being forced to take lower paid jobs following redundancy.

One gentleman even had to declare himself bankrupt after seeing his income fall by a third when he was made redundant from a job as a long-distance lorry driver and found new work as a bus driver.

“In the last five months we have seen 38 clients a month with employment issues and 24 per cent of these are pay and entitlement issues,” said Sue.

“People want to work but cannot get the level of wage that they had before so are taking lower paid jobs.”