“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Louis Margeite says. “If that’s the average wage, some people must be making millions, because no one we know makes anything close to that.”
According to HMRC statistics, the 52-year-old postal worker now lives in the parliamentary seat with the highest average salary: the Cities of London and Westminster, where the mean average for full-time workers is nearly £80,000 and rising fast.
Margeite has lived in the district his entire life. Churchill Gardens, one of the country’s largest council estates, rather than the white stucco mansions of Belgravia and Mayfair. “Everyone assumes Westminster residents are fantastically wealthy, and don’t get me wrong, many of them are,” he says.
At the same time, those in the bottom 10% of the income distribution – those earning less than £8,000 per year – have seen their pay rise by only 1.3%. That is far below the rate of inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high of 9.4% and is expected to reach 13% in the coming months by the Bank of England. The latest ONS pay data, due out on Tuesday, is expected to show even greater increases at the top and anaemic growth at the bottom.
- According to HMRC payslip data, the average salary in the Cities of London and Westminster is £79,693. It is more than £75,000 in Poplar and Limehouse, and £55,500 in Islington South and Finsbury, compared to a UK average of £38,186. At
“Pay increases for the very top are vastly outpacing increases for the very bottom, leaving low earners facing crippling real-terms pay cuts,” she says. “This will result in more widespread poverty and financial hardship, limiting demand in the economy and increasing the risk of a recession.”
“This isn’t just about addressing low pay; excessive pay at the top is a driver of inflation and the result of an economic system that concentrates wealth among a small number of people.”
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