Workers hit by longest pay squeeze in more than 200 years

From Welfare Weekly: Working people in some parts of the UK have been hit by the longest squeeze to the wage packets in more than two centuries, with some earning up to £100 a week less in real-terms compared to 2008, shocking new analysis reveals.

These are the findings of new research by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who say average take home pay is still well behind pre-crisis levels.

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly…]

CBI cuts forecast for UK economic growth

From The Guardian: Britain’s leading employers’ organisation, the Confederation of British Industry, has warned the UK economy will shift down a gear this year and risks remaining in the slow lane.

Cutting its growth forecasts for the year, owing to heavy snowfall in the opening months of 2018 and lingering fears over Brexit, the CBI said it expected the growth rate for the British economy to slow to 1.4%, from 1.8% last year.

The rate of GDP growth is then forecast to fall further still, to 1.3% next year, as the UK leaves the EU.

The downgrade comes as business groups become increasingly worried about the lack of progress being made by ministers in talks with Brussels, amid divisions between senior cabinet members. Business leaders fear there will be little progress made before parliament breaks for its summer recess next month.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

UK economy posts worst quarterly GDP figures for five years

From The Guardian: The weakest household spending for three years and falling levels of business investment dragged the economy to the worst quarter for five years, official statisticians have said.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed its previous estimate that GDP growth slumped to 0.1% in the first quarter, while sticking to its view that the “beast from the east” had little impact.

The latest figures will further stoke concerns over the strength of the UK economy, amid increasing signals for deteriorating growth as Britain prepares to leave the EU next year. Some economists, including officials at the Bank of England, thought the growth rate would be revised higher as more data became available.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Labour demands answers on ‘high-risk’ Carillion contracts

From the Guardian: Labour has called on the Tory government to explain why it awarded contracts worth nearly £2bn to Carillion even after it became clear the company was in financial distress.

The construction and outsourcing group, which has just gone into liquidation, issued the first of three warnings about its financial health in July.

The shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, pointed to regulations showing Carillion could have been designated “high risk” at that point, and he called on the government to explain what measures it had taken to check the firm was ready for more taxpayer-funded work.

Trickett said: “Alarm bells have been ringing for over six months about the state of Carillion’s finances, so the government must come forward and answer questions on exactly what due diligence measures were undertaken before awarding contracts to Carillion worth billions of taxpayers’ money.”

Carillion issued its first profit warning on 10 July. A week later a joint venture between Carillion, its construction rival Kier and the French civil engineer Eiffage won a £1.4bn contract to work on the HS2 high-speed rail link.

The day after that, on 18 July, Carillion won a £158m contract from the Ministry of Defence to provide “catering, retail and leisure, together with hotel and mess services” at 233 military facilities.15

A second profit warning in September was followed five weeks later by the award from Network Rail of a contract to electrify the London-to-Corby rail line. A week afterwards the company put out a third profit warning, only to be awarded a £12m schools building contract three days later.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

#Budget2017: Stagnant earnings forecast ‘astonishing’

From BBC News: The prediction that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 is “astonishing”, according to an independent economic think tank.

Paul Johnson, director of the politically independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, added that the economic forecasts published in the Budget made for “pretty grim reading”.

He highlighted that since 2014 growth in earnings has been “choked off”.

“We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth,” he said.

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#ToryCompetence: UK national debt 1998-2017 infographic

The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK’s debt issues are all Gordon Brown’s doing, and #ToryCompetence (LOL) is saving the day.

This infographic from the Press Association tells an ever-so-slightly different reality.

#UKNationalDebt: The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK's debt issues are all Gordon Brown's doing, and…

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Apprenticeships fall by 59%

From The Guardian: Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the Tory government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April.

Just 48,000 people started an apprenticeship in the final three months of the educational year to July 2017, compared with 117,800 in the same period a year before. The biggest drop came in the lowest level “intermediate” apprenticeships, which dived by 75%, compared with a 48% drop in the most advanced training courses.

Critics of the scheme say the increased costs and complexities are deterring employers from creating apprenticeship posts.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Under the Tories the UK has seen the steepest decline in real wages among G7 countries

#ToryBritain #GE17 #StopTheTories

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Monday, April 24, 2017

 

Student loan interest rate set to rise by a third to 6.1% after UK inflation surge

From The Guardian: Students appear to be paying a heavy price for the UK’s inflation surge after the Brexit vote, which will drive the interest rate on their loans up by a third to 6.1%.

The rise in inflation, driven by a decline in the value of the pound since June, means students will be charged substantially more interest on their loans, despite the fact that many other consumers are benefiting from record low interest rates. Personal loans from high street banks have rates starting at 2.8%, while five-year fixed-rate mortgages are available from 1.29%.

Student loan interest rates are tied to March’s retail price inflation figure, published on Tuesday. At the moment, new starters and current students are charged 4.6% – the March 2016 RPI figure of 1.6%, plus 3% – on their loans. But from September this will rise to 6.1%, made up of the March 2017 figure of 3.1%, plus 3%.

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High youth unemployment leaves £45bn hole in UK economy

From Daily Telegraph: High youth unemployment is costing the British economy £45bn per year, according to research from PwC, as well as blighting the careers of workers who miss out on a job in their teens and twenties. The proportion of 16- to 24-year olds not in education, employment or training – known as NEETs – is also uncomfortably high at 17pc.

[Read full article on Telegraph website…]

 

Tory “economic competence”: Britain has biggest fall in real wages since financial crisis of any advanced country except Greece

From The Guardian: Britain has suffered a bigger fall in real wages since the financial crisis than any other advanced country apart from Greece, research shows.

A report by the TUC shows that real earnings have declined more than 10% since the credit crunch began in 2007, leaving the UK equal bottom in a league table of wages growth. Read more

First-time buyers need a £33k deposit to get onto the property ladder and a quarter now stretch mortgages to 35 years

From Daily Mail: The plight of first-time buyers has reached a new level as new research suggests they now need a deposit worth £33,000 on average, while the amount they pay for a home has never been higher.

[Read full article on Daily Mail website…]