If you work hard, you should be able to feed yourself and your family. In 21st Century Britain, that shouldn’t be up for debate.
But a shocking new TUC/GQR poll shows that one in eight workers in this country are skipping meals to make ends meet. And 44% – almost half – are worried about meeting basic household expenses, such as food, transport and energy.
One in six have left the heating off when it was cold to save on energy bills and the same number have been forced to the pawnshop in the last year because they were short on money.
These numbers show us that working families are on a financial cliff edge.
Real wages have fallen in the ten years since the crash, but while pay packets are getting smaller prices and bills keep rising. As a result, working people are taking on more personal debt. Within the next five years, unsecured debt per household is set to hit record levels of over £15,000.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Across Europe, real wages have risen since the crash. In fact, Britain has suffered a bigger fall in real wages than any other advanced country apart from Greece.
And the problem is getting worse: real wages have fallen every month for the last four months.
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