Under the Conservative government, wages in the North East fell in real terms last year, compared to a rise of 1.1% from 2002 to 2010
Britain needs a pay rise. But under the Tories, workers in the North East have suffered a pay cut as both average real wages and productivity have stagnated. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that across the country, real wages are lower than they were in 2007. Under the Conservative government, wages in the North East fell in real terms last year, compared to a rise of 1.1% from 2002 to 2010.
To boost productivity requires investment in skills, infrastructure, R&D, access to finance by firms and a range of other factors. But there is evidence raising wages helps raise productivity too.
This is because it acts as a spur to firms to invest in new technology and training, boosting productivity and maintaining profitability. It also helps to reduce turnover of workers, motivate staff and foster loyalty to the firm, again helping raise productivity.
While wages increased consistently under the last Labour government, they have stagnated under the Tories and the evidence shows no sign of recovery. Here in the North East, under a Labour government, wages grew by 1.1% per cent, in real terms, between 2002 and 2010. But since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, wages fell in real terms by 0.1% per cent.
Labour would act to boost the wages of workers, including the introduction of a £10 Real Living Wage by 2020 for all workers aged over 18.
Under a Conservative government, people living in Durham have experienced stagnating wages and a cost of living crisis, leading many people, who are in work, to resort to taking out high-interest loans and using foodbanks. This is unacceptable in a rich country. Under the last Labour government, wages went up year-on-year.
I believe that the government should introduce a real Living Wage of £10 per hour, and halt the public sector pay freeze. A Labour government would increase the minimum wage, ensure that the new Living Wage applied to everyone over 18, and introduce measures to boost productivity.
To boost productivity and help the economy, we must boost workers’ wages.