TORY crowing about the number of people in work was blasted apart yesterday by official figures that showed wage growth is in the toilet.
The number of unemployed people decreased by 39,000 in the three months to July, giving a jobless rate of 4.9 per cent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Along with an increase in job vacancies, the number of people in work rose to 31.8 million.
But the amount of people claiming benefits, including jobseeker’s allowance, rose by 2,400 and the average earnings were up just 2.3 per cent — 0.2 percentage points lower than June.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed rise in employment, but called the slowdown in wage growth a “cause for concern.
“Real wages are only rising because of low inflation,” she said.
“We need investment now to create more decent, well-paid jobs and an end to the public-sector pay cap.
“And the government should stick by its promise to give the lowest-paid a pay rise, with increases in the national living wage.”
Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said the data confirm that poverty pay and job insecurity remain rife and called for more action to support struggling working families.
She urged Prime Minister Theresa May to start by reversing the deep cuts made to universal credit that will leave 2.5 million working families £2,100 worse off.
And a recent YouGov survey for housing charity Shelter revealed 44 per cent of working families struggle to survive on their incomes and were often forced to sacrifice essentials such as food, clothing and shoes to cover their housing costs.