Wages have shrunk by 10% since 2007

A TUC study shows earnings in the UK have plummeted since the beginning of the downturn. Unless you're a footballer, that is.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 05 Dec 2014

There can’t be many people in the UK who haven’t felt the full force of the downturn on their pay packets (more on the lucky few later) – now a report by the TUC has highlighted which parts of the country have suffered the most. Surprisingly, there isn’t so much a north-south divide as an east-west divide. Well at least it’s different.

According to the TUC, the UK’s annual wages totaled £690bn in 2007. By 2012, that had dropped 7.5% to £638bn. This was driven, says TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, by pay freezes, pay cuts and people having to reduce their hours or take lower paid work.

‘Many have lost their jobs altogether,’ she adds.

It isn’t exactly unexpected that the north-west has fared the worst over the past five years: its annual wage bill has dropped by 10.6%, from £71bn to £63bn. But the next-worst region is the south-west – ie. one of the UK’s better-off regions. According to the research, wages in the area have dropped by 10.1% since 2007, from £57bn to £51bn. Of course, that could be because most of the ‘wealth’ in the region arrives on a Friday evening in their Range Rover Evoques and heads back up the M4 on a Sunday afternoon…

London, rather predictably, fared the best – although even the capital has had to endure a pay cut. Workers in London are earning £110bn, down from £114bn - 3.9% less than they were bringing in five years ago.

Contrast this with last week’s Deloitte study into footballers’ earnings: wage bills in the Premier League hit £1.7bn in 2011/12 – that’s a 4% rise on the previous year, and about 70% of the total revenue of Premier League clubs (£2.36bn).

Last season, wages rose another 9%, with top-flight footballers earning a total of £1.8bn, an average of around £30,000 a week. That’s expected to grow by 5% to £2.5bn in 2012/13, and another £600m – just over 25% - in 2013/14.

That will put the total at £3.2bn – just over a fifth of the annual wage bill for the whole of Northern Ireland. Yep, we feel a bit sick too.

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