The Tories and the mainstream media are busy trumpeting the good news: a record increase in wages. Yes, wages jumped 3.1 percent in the three months to August, the 'highest rate since the financial crash' crowed the Financial Times.
The news was so uplifting that the value of sterling rose as a result.
But don't go ordering the Prosecco just yet... Writes John Rees
Buried in the small print is the news that after inflation the rise in real wages is a barely visible 0.4 percent. And even this comes after real pay has fallen by 6 percent since 2007.
That adds up to the longest decline in real wages since the Empress Victoria sat on the throne in the 1870s.
No wonder inflation is eating into pay. The Retail Price Index (RPI) has risen by 27 percent, one of the highest rates in the industrialised world and unprecedented for an economy where growth is as weak as it is in the UK.
Of course the Tories have abandoned using the RPI for pay bargaining...but they still use it when calculating rail fare increases and for payments to speculators in government bonds. Its one inflation rate for the rich and another for the poor.
In a masterpiece of civil service understatement, even David Freeman, the head of labour markets at the Office for National Statistics, had to admit that after inflation is taken into account wage 'growth was much more subdued'.
Meanwhile the new boss of Royal Mail paid no tax on his £5.8 million pound 'golden hello'. That payment would alone pay the
And High Court Judges are in line for a whacking 32 percent pay rise of £60,000 a year. That increase is double the average full time wage in the UK.