World Economy

Wage Stagnation Costs UK $51.4b in Income

Wage Stagnation Costs UK $51.4b in IncomeWage Stagnation Costs UK $51.4b in Income

The government is collecting £33.4 billion ($51.4b) less in income tax and national insurance than official forecasts suggested because of the lack of earnings growth in the UK, according to analysis by the TUC (Trades Union Congress).

The analysis is based on the wages forecast made in June 2010 by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s official watchdog for fiscal policy, The Images of Money reported Monday.

If earnings growth had been in line with the OBR forecast, income tax and national insurance receipts this year would total £308.4 billion.

However, the TUC analysis finds that the Treasury is now expected to collect just £275 billion.

The £308.4 billion figure does not take into account reduced revenues as a result of the government’s income tax cuts.

The TUC says that the government’s failure to get wages growing across the current parliament has left it with a much larger deficit than planned – a view reinforced by recent revisions by the OBR.

In its December 2014 Fiscal Outlook report, the OBR said it had increased its forecast for government borrowing due to “a large and increasingly downward revision to receipts, notably income tax”.

The OBR now expects the government to have borrowed £91 billion in the year to March 2014/15, which is £54 billion higher than the Chancellor had originally planned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggest that an additional £50 billion of either revenue or spending cuts will be needed to close the deficit by 2020.


TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor has failed to reduce the deficit because of his failure to get wages growing.

“He spent the last five years shrinking pay packets and as a result he plans to spend the next five shrinking the state to a level not seen since the 1930s – before we had the NHS and welfare state safety net.

“When wages go up, consumers spend more, businesses can grow, more income tax and national insurance rolls in and the deficit shrinks.

“We need a new plan for the economy that gets wages growing and keeps them growing.

“We can’t cut our way to a strong economy any more than we can dig ourselves out of a hole.

“More austerity will keep us stuck in a downward spiral. It’s time for a new long-term plan based on fair pay settlements and investment in the skills, infrastructure and innovation that creates decent jobs with decent wages.”