Over 45,000 children in the West Midlands with a parent working in the public sector are now living in poverty according to new TUC analysis published Feb 2018.

The region has seen a 54% rise in the number of children in public sector families fall into poverty since 2010


The TUC research also shows that by April 2018, 1 in 7 children in the UK (550,000) in public sector working families will be living below the official poverty line as a result of the public sector pay cap, tax and benefit changes.



The analysis shows:

  • Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest losers from the Government’s pay restrictions and benefit changes. Their average household income will be down £83 each week in real terms by April 2018.
  • An extra 150,000 children with at least one parent working in the public sector will be below the poverty line this April – an increase of 40% since 2010.
  • Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £53 a week
  • increase in child poverty rates among families with a public sector worker in England -The South West (+55%) West Midlands (+54%), North West (+51%) and East Midlands (+50%)

Separate TUC analysis shows that holding down public servants’ pay reduced spending power in the West Midlands region by £3.7 billion since 2010.

The average West Midlands public sector worker today earns £2,193 less than if their pay had risen in line with inflation (CPI).


TUC Regional Secretary for the Midlands, Lee Barron said:

“The government’s pay restrictions and in-work benefit cuts have caused needless hardship all over the UK.

Public servants shouldn’t have to worry about feeding or clothing their kids, yet many are struggling to afford even the basics.

Ministers must give nurses, teachers and other public sector workers the pay rise they have earned or more families will continue falling into poverty.”




West Midlands lowest household income – TUC calls on West Midlands Combined Authority to ‘rise to the challenge’

House of Commons library research published January 2018, has shown that the West Midlands is one of the poorest regions in the UK when it comes to household income.

Once housing costs have been stripped out, average household income in the West Midlands is £370, well below the £459 average in the South East, and the national average of £402.

TUC Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:


“These figures demonstrate what we have been saying for years, that the West Midlands has been getting a poor deal and we need to do far more for the people in our region.

Too many of the jobs in the West Midlands are poorly payed and insecure. We need to see a radically different approach of investment in infrastructure, training and innovative use of procurement to secure decent jobs. And crucially we need to see far smarter social interventions to provide greater equality of opportunity to tackle deprivation and inequality that has been entrenched in too many of our communities for too long.

To me, that is the challenge of devolution. If we haven’t shifted these figures in the years to come and given a real boost to household income for all our citizens then devolution will have failed.

We will continue to bang the drum for decent jobs and opportunity, we need the WMCA to rise to the challenge of ensuring devolution works for all.”




Workers in the West Midlands still £30 a week worse off than before the crash, says TUC

New figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in October 2017, for the year to April 2017, show that West Midlands workers are still £30 a week worse off than they were before the financial crash. Real wages in the West Midlands were 6.8% below their 2008 level.

Nationally, inflation has overtaken wage growth for the last 6 months, so the TUC is concerned that next year could be even worse.



TUC Regional Secretary for the West Midlands Lee Barron said:

“Most families still haven’t recovered from the financial crash, yet their pay packets are now taking another hammering. It’s leaving millions of working people facing hardship and getting deeper into debt.

“Public sector workers have had it especially hard, with real pay cuts for seven long years. The Chancellor must use next month’s budget to give them the pay rise they’ve earned.

“He should also use the budget to help bring great jobs to the West Midlands, by investing in skills and infrastructure. And he must help low-paid workers by raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.”


TUC analysis published earlier this year found that unsecured debt per household is set to pass its pre-financial crisis peak in 2017, and will exceed £15,000 by 2020. More information is here: www.tuc.org.uk/news/household-debt-will-reach-record-high-first-year-new-government-says-tuc

The most recent official figures on poverty show that in 2015/16 there were 5.8 million working-age adults below the poverty line (on the government’s preferred relative low income measure, before housing costs). Of these, 3.2 million (55%) were in working families.



£/wk  change from 2008 to 2017

Change from 2008 to 2017 in %

North East



North West



Yorkshire and the Humber



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England






South East



South West









Northern Ireland






 based on median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees


1 in 7 workers in the Midlands are skipping meals to make ends meet, TUC mega poll finds, September 2017

- Poll finds that nearly half of Midlands workers are worried as wages stagnate

- 1 in 4 wouldn’t be able to pay an unexpected £500 bill
- 1 in 6 go without heating when it’s cold

1 in 7 workers (15%) in the Midlands are skipping meals to make ends meet, according to new TUC polling aimed at highlighting the impact of stagnant wages.
The TUC/GQR poll found that nearly half (45%) are worried about meeting basic household expenses, such as food, transport and energy. And a third (a third) think cost of living pressures are getting worse.
The poll also reveals that 1 in 6 (18%) workers have left the heating off when it was cold to save on energy bills.
And 1 in 5 (20%) have pawned something in the last year because they were short on money.
Asked how they would deal with an unexpected £500 bill, 1 in 4 (25%) workers said they would not be able to pay. And of those that could pay, 1 in 6 (18%) say they would have to go in to debt or sell something.
TUC research has shown that since the crash, real wages in the UK have fallen, while they rose across Europe.
TUC analysis published in May revealed that shrinking pay packets are forcing workers to take on more personal debt. Unsecured debt per household was £13,200 in 2016 – the highest figure since the crash. And is set to exceed £15,000 before the end of the next parliament.

TUC Regional Secretary for the Midlands Lee Barron said:
“When you come home from a long day at work, you shouldn’t have to worry whether you can afford to eat. Having a job should provide you with a decent life, but it’s not even covering the basics for many.
“Ten years on from the crash, working families are on a financial cliff edge. Pay packets are worth less and less, but bills keep rising, and personal debt is at crisis levels.
“The government’s inaction must not last. Ministers can raise wages by scrapping public sector pay restrictions, investing to create great jobs across the country, and increasing the minimum wage.”

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May 2017 - WB&DTUC delegates assisted Midlands TUC touring Wolverhampton and Dudley



January 2016 - Real wages in the West Midlands still worth nearly £2,000 less than in 2008, according to new TUC analysis
Average pay (median) in the West Midlands is still worth £1,981 less in real terms than it was in 2008 – a shortfall of £38 a week or 8.5% – according to new analysis published by the TUC.


The average annual wage in the West Midlands has increased in real terms by £908 from 2014 to 2015 – the first annual increase for several years.
The figures confirm that, despite recent strengthening of real wages, workers in the region still have a long way to go to restore all the earnings they lost following the longest squeeze on wages since records began in the 1850s.

However, current indications suggest that the wage recovery may already be stalling. Monthly data on average weekly earnings from the Office for National Statistics show that wage growth slowed in the second half of 2015.

The TUC warns that the government’s plans to continue to hold back wages in the public sector will be a significant drag on average wage growth. And recent monthly surveys by the employment information service XpertHR suggest that private sector wage settlements remain well below their pre-crisis trend.

The TUC says that while forthcoming increases to the minimum wage have an important role to play in improving wages for some workers, this is not enough. Concerted action from the government is needed to support stronger wage increases for all low and middle-income workers, not just those at the very bottom.

However, the TUC warns that the government’s Trade Union Bill will weaken the power of workers to negotiate a fair share of economic growth through decent pay rises. This could lead to slower wage growth becoming embedded as a longer-term problem, causing trouble not only for workers and their families, but also for businesses that rely on their spending.
Instead of attacking workers and their representatives, the TUC is calling on the government to engage with trade unions on a positive agenda to improve both pay and productivity. This should include stronger collective bargaining rights, modern wage councils to ensure that pay increases follow productivity gains, and worker representation on remuneration committees to bring back a bit of reality to boardroom pay.

TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron said: “Working people deserve a fair share of the wealth they create. But despite five years of economic growth, the pressure on their living standards has barely let up. The average annual wage in the West Midlands is still worth nearly £2,000 less than it was back in 2008.
“The government must do the right thing for the economy, and the right thing by workers. They should invest more in the skills and infrastructure the UK needs for higher productivity. They should make sure that working people see productivity gains in their pay packets. And they should work positively with trade unions instead of attacking workers and their representatives with the Trade Union Bill.”

Median annual real earnings, all employees West Midlands
£23,176    2008
£22,020    2010
£20,287    2014
£21,195    2015


Average pay in the West Midlands fell by over £1,000 says TUC in real terms in 2014, according to new analysis published by the TUC to mark the beginning of Fair Pay Fortnight which runs from the 16 February to March 1 2015.


This means that the average full-time employee wage in the West Midlands has fallen in real terms by £2,430 since 2010 – over £45 a week.

The TUC says that UK workers have endured the longest real wage squeeze since records began in the 1850s and that even with inflation falling sharply in recent months at current rates of progress it will still take years for wages to recover to their pre-recession levels.


While average pay for workers in the West Midlands fell by 8.9 per cent in real terms between 2010 and 2014, pay for FTSE 100 bosses shot up by 26 per cent over the same period, says the TUC.

FTSE 100 chief executives saw their pay increase, on average, by £700,000 in real terms between 2010 and 2014.

The average wage for a FTSE 100 CEO in 2014 was £3,334,000 – 134 times the average annual wage in the West Midlands.

The TUC estimates that it took a FTSE 100 CEO less than two working days, on average, to earn what most full-time workers in the region earn in a year.


The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight to raise awareness about pay inequality and to campaign for a higher minimum wage, greater extension of the living wage and higher pay settlements in the public and private sector.

A number of events and activitiestook place across the West Midlands during the Fortnight: street stalls in Brierley Hill, Halesowen, Worcester and Coventry; Living Wage actions with Birmingham Citizens on February 24th; a CLASS conference in Birmingham on 26th and the Midlands TUC Regional AGM with Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, as guest speaker on February 28th. 


TUC Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Barron: “Despite growth returning, 2014 was another miserable year for living standards in the West Midlands with real wages falling by over £1,000 in real terms.

 Even though inflation has fallen sharply in recent months, it is still going to take years for people’s earnings just to recover to their pre-recession levels. 

It is a different story though for those at the top. Senior City executives have seen a huge boost in their fortunes since the election as their wages have skyrocketed.

This is why we are organising Fair Pay Fortnight, to raise awareness about pay inequality and to call for a sustainable recovery in which everybody shares.”


Changes in the median annual real earnings of full-time employees 2010-2014


Change Since 2010 (£)

Change Since 2010 (per cent)

Change Since 2013 (£)

Change since 2013 (per cent)






United Kingdom





North East





North West





Yorkshire and The Humber





East Midlands





West Midlands















South East





South West















Northern Ireland





Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, RPI adjusted. All real values are reported are in April 2014 prices, using April RPI: All Items Index values


Changes in FTSE 100 CEOs real earnings 2010-2014


Change Since 2010 (£)

Change since 2010 (per cent)

FTSE 100 Chief Executives



Source: IDS Directors’ Pay Report 2014/15, data from Graph 1.2: CEO and employee median earning trends data 2000 to 2014.


FTSE 100 CE0 pay, compared to median earnings

West Midlands median wage in 2014


How many more times the regional median wage FTSE 100 earned in 20141


Hours it took CEO to earn median wage in region2


Working days it took CEO to earn median wage in region3


1This value is FTSE 100 median annual wage divided by regional full time median annual wage and rounded to the nearest whole number.

2This value assumes a standard working week of 37.5 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. Not taking any leave into account, this comes to 1950 standard working hours per year. The FTSE 100 median hourly wage was therefore estimated at £1,709.74, which is the FTSE 100 median annual wage divided by 1950.  Finally, each regional full time median annual wage was then divided by this hourly rate and rounded to the nearest hour.

3This value took the number of hours it would take a FTSE 100 CEO to earn the full-time median annual wage divided by a standard 7.5 hour work day and was rounded to the nearest tenth of a day.

- Fair Pay Fortnight will run between Monday 16 February and Sunday 1 March.

- The Fortnight is part of the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign and will feature a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about low pay, pay inequality and falling living standards. For more information please visit www.fairpayfortnight.org

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews