Disposable incomes of middle earners have fallen by about £1,200 over the past few years, according to new research.
The Office for National Statistics said that between 2007/8 and 2010/11, the average disposable income for non-retired households in the middle fifth of the income distribution fell by 3.8% from £31,000 a year to £29,900.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The average fall was bigger before taxes and cash benefits were taken into account - dropping from £36,400 to £33,200.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady commented: "These figures show the real cost of the UK's living standards crisis for middle Britain, with households thousands of pounds poorer today than five years ago.
"But rather than helping families, the government's real-terms cut in welfare support next month will make them ever poorer."
Tax tricks to improve your wealth
Disposable income figures down
If you wear a uniform of any kind to work and have to wash, repair or replace it yourself, you may be able to reclaim tax paid over the last four years. For some people, this could mean a windfall worth hundreds of pounds
The interest you receive on savings accounts (with the exception of cash Isas) is automatically taxed at a rate of 20%.
Higher-rate taxpayers therefore tend to owe money on the interest they are paid throughout the year. If, however, you are on a low income or not earning at all, you should be able to claim all or some of the tax deducted back
You can apply for a refund of vehicle tax if you are the current registered keeper or were the last registered keeper of your vehicle that no longer needs a tax disc
If you pay tax on a company, personal or State Pension through PAYE (the system employers use to deduct tax from your wages), you may well end up overpaying
There is a limit to the amount you need to pay in NI, whether or not you work for an employer.
Instances in which you may find that you have overpaid include if you work two or more jobs and earn more than £817 a week and if you move from self-employment to employment, but continue to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions