18 November, 2015
In response to the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Peter Tutton, Head of Policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said:
“It is pleasing to see a first real term increase in wages since 2008 and this will make some difference to people who are struggling. However, years of below-inflation rises will have taken their toll on households and there is still much more to be done.
“People are still struggling on zero hours contracts, low paid jobs and other insecure incomes and this small rise in wages will not mean everyone is suddenly out of the woods. A quarter of our clients have a budget deficit and those with a surplus only have an average of £64 left after all of their outgoings. Though welcome, this increase in wages will not redress the balance of the last seven years, nor will it insulate them from the income shocks that push people into problem debt.
“14 million people suffered a shock to their income last year and 6.5m relied on credit to cope. We need to ensure that there are adequate safety nets in place to help people get back on their feet when they run into financial difficulty. If every family could build up £1,000 in savings it would prevent half a million of them from falling into problem debt, but this rise in wages is only the smallest of steps.”