WESTCOUNTRY workers are taking home less pay than they did five years ago according to a study which points to plummeting wage levels.
Researchers from the Trades Union Congress have found hourly rates have fallen by just under seven per cent in Devon and more than seven per cent in Cornwall making them low wage hotspots. In the rest of the wider South West region, wages have fallen by just five per cent since 2007.
Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said families were struggling to make ends meet.
“Across Devon and Cornwall, families are still really struggling to make their money go far enough and are often having to go into debt – as they experience a huge squeeze on their household incomes,” he said.
“With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards or their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items.”
Mr Costley said workers’ real hourly pay rates had taken a hit over the past five years because wages have failed to keep up with inflation. He added it was a result of a “worrying” increase in insecure and short-hours employment.
He said: “In many cases when people have lost their jobs, and are fortunate enough to find work, they are forced to take jobs with fewer hours and on lower rates of pay.
“This is not the way to build a strong economy, the UK needs far more better jobs on much better rates of pay.”
According to the TUC, in 2007 the average hourly pay in Devon, in 2012 prices, was £10.61. It now stands at £9.89 – a fall of 6.8% amounting to a weekly hit of £28.71.
The figures were obtained from the Office for National Statistics.