Britain's 17-year real wage squeeze will be the worst in modern history

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22/6/2018

UK workers are suffering the longest squeeze on real wages in modern history, new union analysis has revealed. 

A decade on from the financial crisis, real wages are still worth £24 a week less than in 2008 and they are not forecast to return to their pre-crash level until 2025. By this point real wages will have been in decline for 17 years.

The current period of wage stagnation is the worst for two centuries. Not since the beginning of the 18th century has it taken so long for real wages to recover from a slump.

Union research compared the current wage squeeze with every major earnings crisis over the past 200 years. Even during the Great Depression era and revival from the Second World War real wages recovered more quickly.  

Union analysis estimates that, as a result of pay not keeping pace with the cost of living, by 2025 the average worker will have lost out on around £18,500 in real earnings. This will be the biggest relative real wage loss since Lord Nelson roamed the seas, dwarfing anything seen over the last century. Real wages increased by 27% in the decade before the 1998 financial crisis. However, in the decade since they have fallen by 4%. 

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