GMB welcome news of rising wages in the South East but says there is still a long way to go

Download as PDF

GMB welcome news of earnings rising by 2.9% in three months to march as earnings in the South East need to increase by 12.8% to catch up with 2007. “News that wages have risen is welcome but there is still a very long way to go to make up the ground lost due to the recession in 2008 and inflation since then”, says GMB Southern

GMB Southern have welcomed new statistics from the Office of National Statistics, which shows wages rising at an annual rate of 2.9% in the three months to March, faster than the 2.7 % inflation, but cautioned that there was a very long way to go before earnings in the South East recover from the drop of 12.8% compared to earnings in 2007.

A study of official data by the GMB from January 2018 showed that in the South East full-time workers mean gross annual pay in 2017 was just 87% of what it was in 2007. In 2007 the mean gross annual pay of full-time workers was £34,514. In 2017 that figure was £39,539, which when you factor in inflation at 31.7%, saw a decrease in pay of 13%.

Over the same period the decrease in earnings in the United Kingdom was 10.4%. In 2007 full-time workers mean gross annual pay in the UK was £30,015. By 2017 the figure was £35,423. After inflation, this is just 89.6% of what workers were earning in 2007.

The full-time workers gross annual pay in Elmbridge in 2017 was just 54.3% of what it was in 2007. This was the biggest decrease in the South East region. It was followed by South Oxfordshire at 73.1%, followed by Reigate and Banstead 75.3%, Mole Valley 76.5%, Sevenoaks 76.7%, Tunbridge Wells 78.8%, West Oxfordshire 79.9%, Surrey Heath 80.7%, Horsham 81.4%, and New Forest 81.7%. Hastings, Test Valley and Gosport were the only areas that saw an increase in earnings over the 10-year period.

The figures covering 61 councils in the South East area are set out in the table available for download on the right, ranked by the highest percentage drop since 2007. This is from a new study by GMB Southern Region of official data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for 61 councils in the South East area. It compares full-time workers mean gross annual pay in 2007 and 2017, followed by 2017 earnings as a percentage of 2007 earnings after inflation.

Results for 2003 and earlier exclude supplementary surveys. In 2006 there were a number of methodological changes made. For further details goto :

Estimates for 2011 and subsequent years use a weighting scheme based on occupations which have been coded according to Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2010 that replaced SOC 2000. Therefore care should be taken when making comparisons with earlier years.

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary said:

"GMB welcome this news that wages have risen but there is still a very long way to go to make up the ground lost due to the recession in 2008 and inflation since then.

"Earlier this year GMB showed that across the South East as a whole the real value of average wages for workers resident in the region in 2017 was only 87% of the buying power they had in 2007 when inflation is factored in. Indeed residents in 24 of the 61 areas in the region that we received data for, fared much worse than this with residents in some areas very badly hit.

"Two conclusions can be drawn from the study. The first is that the impact on the living standards of ordinary workers of the bankers recession in 2008 onwards is still with us a decade later. Not a single person has been punished by a prison sentence for the recklessness and law breaking that has had catastrophic consequences as these figures show. The Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers show that tax evasion and tax avoidance are still going ahead undealt with on an industrial scale.

"The second conclusion is that ordinary workers require substantial pay increases to make up the lost ground. These increases are needed to boost spending power to keep economic growth on track."

Contact: Michelle Gordon 07866 369 259 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762

Notes to Editors:

1] Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics, Crown Copyright Reserved

2] The figures are annual Mean salary for all Full-time employees, residential based

3] ASHE is based on a 1% sample of employee jobs, drawn from HM Revenue and Customs Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records.

4] Inflation rate between April 2007 and April 2017 was 31.74%.

5] Figures marked as # are suppressed as statistically unreliable