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Public-sector salaries take Tory beating

For the first time since records began, average earnings in the public sector register negative growth

David Cameron's government of millionaires sank to new depths yesterday with a record plunge in public-sector wages and more jobseekers than ever forced into part-time work.

For the first time since records began, average earnings in the public sector registered negative growth - falling 0.5 per cent over the past year.

The retail price index rose by 3.2 per cent over the same period, hitting workers with a nasty cut in the real value of their income.

Private-sector workers fared only slightly better. They suffered a cut in their real wages, receiving a puny average increase of just 1.1 per cent.

Official figures also showed that 1.45 million people who want full-time jobs could only find part-time work, the highest number since records began in 1992.

The Office for National Statistics announced that 2.49m people were unemployed in the quarter up to August - a fall of just 18,000.

A disastrous figure of 958,000 for the number of unemployed young people aged from 16 to 24 reflected a continuing national tragedy.

Jobseeker's allowance was claimed by 1.35 million people in September, a drop of 41,700 from August.

Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the fall in the overall official unemployment total, but protested that there were still almost a million young people out of work.

Amid opposition cheers, Mr Miliband added: "Food banks on the rise, energy bills soaring, even families in work are worse off and the Prime Minister is in total denial about the cost of living crisis facing millions of families."

Jarrow Labour MP Stephen Hepburn accused "privileged, privately educated millionaire ministers" of denying millions of people the right to work.

Baying Tories attempted to drown out Mr Hepburn's words, but he went on to brand the Con-Dem government as "a political front for the hedge funds and the bankers."

Mr Cameron attempted to defend his record by boasting that there were now one million more people in work than when this government came into office.

Public service union Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that yesterday's figures showed that low-paid public-sector workers were "continuing to bear the brunt of the government's austerity measures."

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