Incomes shrink 20% in four years

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Do you feel like your earnings don't stretch as much as they once did? Well, you're not alone - pay packets for 90% of workers in the UK are now worth less than they were four years ago as wages have been left behind by inflation, according to a new study released today.

So which professions are suffering most?

Research from the GMB union showed that the earnings of workers in 284 occupations - from hairdressing to town planning - have seen their real incomes shrink by up to 20% in the four years to September, as with pay freezes and the soaring cost of living.

The study found the biggest falls were in professions including TV engineers, investment advisers, public relations officers and plant and machine operatives.

The lowest falls included librarians, train drivers, forestry workers, midwives and chiropodists, said the GMB.

General Secretary Paul Kenny said: "These figures show that the Government's strategy for an economic recovery is in tatters. George Osborne has the economic literacy of a stick of rhubarb.

"Everyone from plasterers to IT specialists, from travel agents to midwives, from hairdressers to police inspectors have seen the value of their earning drop when they have a job. It has got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery under way at the time of the election stalled.

"Two thirds of the economy is consumer-driven and Osborne must be the only person who does not get it. Squeezing wages, pay freezes and cutting jobs will not restart the economy. Using the IMF measures, his cuts will reduce real private consumption by 4% and GDP by 3.4% over the next few years."

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