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Living standards of workers down by up to 28%

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Those who work in offices from London and Bristol to Milton Keynes and Reading may have noticed a certain tightening of their belts in recent years in order to get by.

Now research has found that the living standards of workers in the UK has fallen by up to 28 per cent in the four years since the economic downturn began.

There was a certain amount of disparity between areas of the country, but the research, which was conducted for the GMB union, found that Hammersmith and London has a fall of 28.6 per cent when wages were compared to inflation.

Despite much talk about the north-east having a large number of people unemployed, it experienced the smallest fall in living standards during the period, by just 2.3 per cent.

The north-west reported the highest fall of all the regions with 9.1 per cent, compared to an average 5.9 per cent for workers across the entire country.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of GMB, said: “George Osborne has the economic literacy of a stick of rhubarb. Full-time workers in all regions in the UK have seen the value of their earnings drop when they have a job.”

With pay rises very scarce and inflation increasing every month the amount of cash workers actually have to spend on essentials and luxuries is diminishing.

At the same time, fuel and food bills are also becoming more expensive and there are very few financial products on the market which give workers a real return on their savings.

All this adds to a decrease in the standard of living for workers all over the country in the past four years, adding more pressure on the government to help the UK economy recover.

Mr Kenny said: “Things have got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery under way at the time of the election stalled and the country is mired in a new recession.”

With 610,000 members, one in every 32 workers in the UK is attached to the GMB union, which campaigns to protect its members.