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Record on wages ‘dismal failure’

Working people have suffered the biggest real-terms fall in wages for more than a century under the coalition, Labour is claiming.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is today publishing figures which, the party says, will show that by the time of the general election next year average earnings after inflation will have seen the biggest drop of any parliament since 1874-1880.

The findings, by the independent House of Commons Library, are based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, historical data from the Bank of England and Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts for the rest of this Parliament.

In a speech in Bedford, Mr Balls will say that with average earnings having fallen by £1,600 in real terms since 2010, the current parliament will be the first since the 1920s when real earnings will be lower at the end than they were at the beginning.

“While David Cameron and George Osborne complacently claim the economy is now fixed, the truth is most people are worse off under the Tories,” he is expected to say.

“From a Conservative-led Government that promised to make working people better off back in 2010, this is a dismal record of failure.”

While the economy has been picking up – with the IMF forecasting growth in Britain this year will be faster than any other advanced economy – Labour argue that the benefits are still not feeding through to ordinary people.

Mr Balls will say that working people will fall even further behind if the Conservatives are returned to power next year, accusing the Tories of planning a further cut to the top rate of tax.

“We know the Tories’ real economic plan – it’s to cut taxes at the top and hope that wealth will just trickle down,” he is expected to say.

“Having already cut taxes for millionaires in this Parliament, they’re champing at the bit to do it again if they win the election – cutting the top rate of tax for people earning over £150,000 again from 45p to 40p. Another tax cut worth £3 billion for the richest 1% of our country.”

For the Conservatives, Treasury Minister Priti Patel said Labour plans would mean an additional £17 billion in spending, they had only found £105 million to pay for it.

“It’s just more of the same from Labour. Labour spent and borrowed their way through the good times and left us with the biggest deficit in our peacetime history,” she said.

“The real choice Britain will face next May is between a long-term economic plan that is supporting hard-working taxpayers, or a Labour Party that hasn’t learned its lesson and would add more debt than future generations can ever pay.”

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