A reality check on hopes that Britain’s pay squeeze has ended

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Last week’s data on average weekly earnings (AWE) showed that annual pay growth in September had overtaken CPI inflation for the first time since 2009, sparking cautious (and not-so-cautious) proclamations that the six-year squeeze on earnings might finally have come to an end. Today comes a sobering reality check. According to the ONS’ Annual Survey … Continued

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Three things to bear in mind when watching Osborne today

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Why everyone’s pretty much making it up 1. Most of today’s cuts were decided three years ago In his statement today, the Chancellor needs to find cuts in most unprotected departments of around 8-9 per cent. That number flows mainly from three things: the pace of deficit reduction; the decision to protect health, schools, international … Continued

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Austerity after 2015: why the worst is yet to come

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With a week to go before the Spending Review, reports suggest that the Treasury has secured just a third of the £11.5bn of cuts planned in 2015-16. Yet amid the claim and counter-claim about how far departmental budgets can be squeezed, it is worth reflecting on how the review fits into the broader context of deficit reduction. … Continued

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The generation that’s going backwards

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Falling incomes, rising prices, impossible debts … even before the crash some workers faced a suffocating squeeze When John F. Kennedy declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats” he was encapsulating the postwar belief that growth would generate steady rises in living standards for all. Even if richer households were sometimes the biggest gainers, … Continued

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