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Wage Levels

Volume 570: debated on Tuesday 5 November 2013

14. What recent comparative assessment he has made of trends in real wages in the UK and in similar economies. (900908)

This Government recognise the pressure on households, but the fall in living standards is a consequence of the economic crisis left to us by Labour. The only way to raise living standards is to stick to our economic plans and deliver a recovery that works for all. Britain has turned a corner: the economy is growing, the deficit is falling, and jobs are being created. Last year, UK take-home pay was the highest in the G7 and the third highest in the OECD.

That is a very interesting answer. Why does the Minister think that the 15% cut in wages suffered by British workers over the past five years is more than in any comparable five-year period and the second biggest in the G20?

It is interesting to note that the main fall in wages and salaries came in 2007-09, when growth fell from 5.7% to less than 1%. Of course the Government understand that the situation is very difficult, but I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman has not welcomed the fact that the claimant count in his constituency has fallen by 11% under this Government, whereas it went up by 75% under the previous Government.

Will my hon. Friend tell the House by how much those on low and middle incomes are going to be better off because of this Government’s decision to raise the personal allowance to £10,000 from April 2014?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The average taxpayer will be better off by £700 a year as a result of these changes.