Unite warns of debt disease as incomes fall 13 per cent

Unite has warned of a debt disease as National incomes fell by more than 13 per cent this year compared to the start of the recession four years ago, according the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said national and household incomes had been affected by the recession as well as high levels of inflation.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said:

"There is a debt disease spreading across this country because of the Tories' disastrous austerity agenda. It's no wonder that more and more people across the country are falling into the clutches of pay-day lending sharks. We need urgent action from the government to cap extortionate interest rates which can pile misery on many working people struggling to make ends meet.

"This country needs a programme against mass poverty. Instead we have a government which is telling working families to sink or swim, while they give tax breaks to the rich."
The third week of every month is rapidly turning into Wonga Week, as massive strains on household incomes push working people into the clutches of greedy payday lenders.
A recent survey involving 350,000 people for Unite revealed a debt disease spreading across the UK. More than eight out of ten working people report that their wages cannot last the month, with 12 per cent of that group turning to payday loan companies with extortionate rates of interest to tide them over.

Unite members have already reported drops in weekly income of around £66 per week since the budget in April this year. In the six months since the budget, they report borrowing on credit cards and from payday lenders has increased by £128 per month to £328, approximately one week’s wages.

Unite has also called for a £1 increase in the minimum wage as part of a major stimulus package to boost growth and support the most vulnerable in society.


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors: Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.