Bankers' bonuses have soared to new heights while most people believe the economic recovery is failing to benefit those on lower and middle incomes, a new poll has found.
In a survey conducted by YouGov for the Labour Party, 70% believed recent economic improvements had failed to benefit middle and lower income families.
Most of those polled (81%) said that over the last year prices had grown faster than household incomes.
The findings reveal the economic squeeze on families, after official figures indicated that workers’ average earnings are 1,350 a year lower in real terms than in May 2010. The news marks Labour’s continued push to emphasise the living standards squeeze on voters instead of concerns over a flatlining economy, after GDP rose 0.6% in the second quarter of 2013.
Meanwhile, bankers have enjoyed a bonus pool of nearly £4 billion in April. This marks an estimated 82.2% rise (£1.857 billion) over last year, according to official data from the Office for National Statistics.
In a blog on the Huffington Post UK in July, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls wrote: “Wages after inflation are falling month by month – down by over £1,300 a year since David Cameron’s government came to power.“
“We need a strong recovery that everybody can benefit from – a recovery made by the many, not just a few at the top. That means government action now alongside long-term reforms. It’s a challenge for all developed economies around the world, but it’s one we must rise to.”
In response to the latest survey, Labour’s shadow Treasury minister Catherine McKinnell said: “Working people know they are worse off under the Tories as prices continue to rise faster than wages. Families have also seen their tax credits and childcare support stripped back while David Cameron has prioritised a tax cut for millionaires.
“While those on middle and low incomes continue to feel the squeeze, the highest earners are doing well. Bonuses soared to almost £4 billion in April as bankers delayed their payouts to take advantage of George Osborne's top rate tax cut. And millions of pounds of tax revenues will have been lost as a result.
A Conservative spokesman said: “Labour can’t be taken seriously on the cost of living when they refuse to acknowledge their role in creating the living standards squeeze in the first place. They have opposed every single difficult decision we’ve taken to secure an economic recovery that rewards hardworking people.
"We’re cutting income tax for 25 million people, taking 2.7 million out of income tax altogether and freezing council tax.”