Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not an equal UK

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that average incomes in the West Midlands, East Midlands, northern England and Wales were no higher than incomes in the South-east in the late 1990s.

The IFS also identified weak earnings growth – with employment income in 2015-16 lower than its pre-recession levels – as “the primary reason for the malaise in living standards” in the UK.

The IFS analysis showed that the median weekly income net of taxes and benefits for a childless couple in the West Midlands (over the three years from 2013-14 to 2015-16) was £427.50 before housing costs, or £370.07 after housing costs. For the South-east the figures were £531.89 before housing costs or £454.62 after housing costs.
Inequality remains lower than before the Great Recession, with the main reduction between 2007-8 and 2011-12 due to rising benefit income and falling real earnings.
But income inequality is likely to increase over the coming years if earnings grow and planned benefits cuts “significantly reduce the incomes of low-income working age households”.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation chief executive Campbell Robb stated, “These alarming figures highlight how far behind some parts of the UK have fallen, with millions of people seeing their incomes stagnate or even worse decline..Average incomes in the Midlands, Wales and the north of England have fallen further behind the rest of the country. Low earnings are an increasingly important driver of poverty, with the proportion of children in poverty in working households rising sharply in recent years.

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