Pay deals ‘letting down’ families

couple sorting debt

couple sorting debtIf nothing else, you've got to be thrifty out there - that's the take-home message from a new report which has warned that millions of normal families are being pushed into debt.

Of Britain's 29.1 million-strong working population, 80%, or 23.1 million of us are in the private sector. And it seems the majority of us failed to receive a pay rise in keeping with inflation, according to Incomes Data Services (IDS).

Average pay went up by 3% between January and March - but this is against the backdrop of inflation running at 3.5%.

Eight per cent of staff, mainly those working in manufacturing, construction or not-for-profit sectors, saw their pay freeze.

The IDS says pay rises contracted in April, with an average of 2.9%. Now, debt experts are afraid that many families had been pinning their hopes on a salary increase in order to dig them out of a hole.

Although interest rates have meant reduced mortgage costs for many, bills are soaring thanks to high petrol and energy prices. Food has also gone up by 4.3% over the past year, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The report looked at the pay awards given to around 450,000 workers at 114 firms.

Ken Mulkearn, editor of the IDS Pay Report, said: "The failure of wage rises to keep up with increases in the cost of living is placing downward pressure on household incomes. In a period when the spotlight is firmly on the figures for economic growth, pay outcomes will also have significance for the economy as a whole."