“Brexitland: With pay so low for this long, no wonder there’s anger in Sheffield” | Owen Jones 

Kelham Island Quarter in Sheffield, now partly regenerated. ‘It is naive to dismiss the role of the great wage squeeze in Britain’s biggest political upheaval since the war.’ Photograph: Alamy

Thursday 13 April 2017

Is it any wonder that Britain bubbles away with frustration? Not since Napoleon ruled France has the country suffered such a protracted squeeze in wages. Of the 35 major industrialised OECD countries, only Greece has endured such a steep fall. British workers are still, on average, poorer than they were when the banks plunged the global economy into chaos, and the respite of the last two years is juddering to an end. In February real wages fell once again. And no, this crisis didn’t start under the Tories: in the last half of New Labour’s reign, wages began to stagnate or fall for the bottom half of Britain’s underpaid workforce. Over a decade of decline has left Britain simmering with anger.

The story behind Brexit is a tale of competing and contradictory factors. Many low-paid workers opted for remain; millions of relatively comfortably-off Britons with no economic grievances, like those I met in the well-to-do market town of Fareham, voted to leave. The youngest have been hardest hit by the crash and the cuts, but they voted remain; older Britons have been largely protected, but they opted for leave.

Source: The Guardian

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