Britons see steep income drop – data

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Wages continue to fall behind soaring inflation, the UK national statistics service has said

UK household incomes are facing the fastest decline in over a decade as wages lag behind spiraling inflation and families struggle to pay their bills, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported on Tuesday.

Labor market data showed total income growth in real terms, adjusted for inflation, dropped by 3% between December 2022 and February 2023, while regular pay fell by 2.3% over the same period. The figures represent the steepest decline in regular pay since 2009, when average weekly wages slumped 4.5%, the ONS said.

The pace of wage rises is a closely-watched measure as the cost-of-living crisis deepens in the UK.

Prices of consumer goods and services increased at the fastest rate in four decades in the year to October 2022, the ONS noted. Annual inflation surged from 8.8% in January to 9.2% in February and 10% in March, driven by soaring costs of fresh food, non-alcoholic drinks and energy bills. The surprise inflation surge in February and March followed three consecutive months of slowing price increases, and the rate remains at highs previously seen around 30 years ago.

UK households continue to struggle with soaring food and energy bills, while workers in a range of sectors have launched mass strike action in recent months amid disputes over pay and conditions.

The number of days lost to strikes reached 348,000 in February, up from 210,000 days lost in January.

Public and private sector workers in the UK have been striking since last year in an effort to win pay increases as wage value has been eroded by elevated inflation.

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