We've never had it so bad

PUBLISHED: 12:41 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 19:56 01 June 2010

Britain s never had it so good. According to Labour that is. But for the working class, the overwhelming majority, it s just not true. Prime Minister in waiting, Gordon Brown, boasts about a 14-year upswing, the longest period of sustained economic growt

Britain's never had it so good. According to Labour that is. But for the working class, the overwhelming majority, it's just not true.

Prime Minister in waiting, Gordon Brown, boasts about a 14-year upswing, the 'longest period of sustained economic growth since records began.'

But the reality for most workers is that, even in this upswing, 2006 saw living standards fall, not rise. Inflation is outstripping average wage rises for the first time since 1995.

Mortgages have risen by 16 per cent, electricity by 27 per cent, gas bills by 38 per cent. This is expenditure people can't cut back on.

Debt, on credit cards and overdrafts, has risen to an average £8,592 per household.

At the same time more and more people are losing their jobs; 1.71 million are unemployed according to the Government's quarterly labour force survey.

In addition, there are 2.7 million people on incapacity benefits, a million of whom would like to work if a suitable job could be found.

Mortgage failures are up: 34,626 homes were repossessed in the last 12 months.

Nearly 100,000 people are officially homeless, while the charity Crisis reckons a further 38,000 are sleeping rough or 'sofa surfing'.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development notes that: 'Growth in regular pay is failing to keep up with the cost of living and the squeeze on living standards will continue.'

If this is what Britain is like in 'good times', what will it be like when good times are gone?

JOHN SMITHEE

Kingsley Avenue

Wisbech

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