UK average weekly household income is at 11-year low

UK households' average weekly income has hit an 11-year low, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DwP…

UK households' average weekly income has hit an 11-year low, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DwP). 

 In real-terms, household income remained unchanged at £453 per week in 2013/2014 compared to the year before and was the lowest it has been in a decade.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, has warned that plans to reduce tax credits for those with children will only exacerbate the issue. 

"The extreme cuts to tax credits the government is planning for working families will do nothing to raise wages and will leave low-paid families even worse off. 

"There is a big danger this will start poverty rates rising again," he said. 

In addition, the DwP's figures showed that there were some 2.3 million children who were classed as living in relative poverty in the UK, which means this number has remained the same from 2011-12 to 2013-14. In order to be defined as living in poverty, a household has to have an income 60 per cent below the UK average, which would mean £272 per week. 

There was some more positive news, as the number of people classed as having a relative low income in 2013/14 was 100,000 less than the year before and was considerably lower than when records began in 1998/99. Back then, 11.2 million were classed in this category. However, that still means there were some 9.6 million people in 2013/14 who were living on low wages. 

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested these figures meant that reforms introduced by the government were working. 

In contrast, shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said the government had failed in its bid to cut child poverty and raise incomes and had instead revealed a "depressing slow-down" in progress that he said the UK should be making. 

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