Socialist Worker

Recession or no recession, the bosses take the cash

Issue No. 2315

Earnings have steadily fallen below GDP per head since the 1970s

Earnings have steadily fallen below GDP per head since the 1970s


Even before the recession less money was going to workers. Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP), the total economic output of the country, rose by 11 percent between 2003 and 2008.

Yet average wages stayed the same. And disposable income, the money left after tax, fell across all of England outside London.

Just 12p out of every £1 created in Britain’s economy goes to the wages of the poorest half of workers. This figure has fallen by a quarter over the past 30 years. Wages have stagnated since 2003—before the current recession began.

This explains why many people turned to debt in the run-up to the crisis to try and maintain their standard of living.

The TUC says that the total wage bill represented 58 percent of GDP in 1978. By 2011 it had dropped to 54 percent.

Had the percentage stayed the same, workers would have taken home £60 billion more last year. Altogether workers have lost £1.3 trillion over the past 30 years.


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