The high price of recession

Wage earners in East Lothian have been among the worst affected people in Scotland during recessionary times, according to official figures.

In a new study by the GMB Scotland union, the real value of earnings in the county fell by 22.7 per cent over the last six years. The average for Scotland is 12.6 per cent for the period April 2008 to April 2014. For the UK, the drop has been 15.1 per cent.

Data by the Office for National Statistics and analysed by the union shows that only wage earners in Stirling, at 23 per cent, have a real value of earnings deficit that is lower than East Lothian.

According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the mean gross annual earnings for all employees resident in Scotland was £23,934 in April 2008. The ASHE figure for April 2014 was £25,581, an increase of £1,647 or 6.9 per cent. But inflation for the six-year period was 19.5 per cent, creating a 12.6 per cent drop in average earnings in Scotland. In April 2008 in East Lothian, the mean annual gross earnings stood at £25,668, but this had fallen to £24,847 six years later.

GMB Scotland secretary Harry Donaldson said: “These figures are a damning and shocking indictment of how the Tories have run the economy and who has benefited from their time in office.”