Suffolk: More than £1billion less paid out to people in the county

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, who is positive about the future for

David Burch, Director of Policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, who is positive about the future for businesses - Credit: Archant

Suffolk employees brought home around 14% less in their pay packets last year compared to the eve of the recession in 2007, new figures have revealed.

According to TUC analysis published yesterday, the value of the overall pay packet in the county in 2012 was £7.9billion – a drop of £1.1bn over a five-year period, which was the second highest decrease in the East of England.

In Essex the total amount of pay that people earned was nearly £20bn, which is 6.4% less in value than in 2007.

However the business sector is reporting that the tide is now beginning to turn and the future looks positive.

Karon Sanders, press officer for the Suffolk branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and owner of landscaping firm, Stackyard Nurseries, in Mendlesham, said: “There has been a reduction in pay packets but certain sectors in business have seen improvements, particularly this year. Any small businesses that have managed to survive the last three years are now starting to see an increase in sales this year.”

Mrs Sanders claimed that her business has already done better in the last four months, compared to the whole of last year.

“I think people have got to the stage when they have decided not to sell their house, so will concentrate on improving it which is good for our business,” she added.

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David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, explained that the problems have been with banks not lending and the restrictions placed on access to finance. He said that this has led to a lack of confidence so businesses have not been investing as much.

However, he added: “We are getting more positive comments from our members about the state of the economy. It is slowly beginning to improve, albeit a modest growth in the economy, so I hope this means confidence will come back to businesses and more importantly consumers.”

The TUC figures showed the UK’s overall pay packet was £52bn smaller last year compared to 2007.

In the East of England a combination of falling wage levels, reduced hours and changes in the kind of jobs people were doing has cut the total pay of workers in the region by 4.9% over the last five years – a real terms annual cut of £3.35bn by 2012.

Jenny Stockman, co-ordinator of Suffolk Business Hub and chairman of the Framlingham Business Association, said there are ways businesses can adapt and prosper.

She said: “There are ways that businesses can change in the marketplace. There is a lot of movement towards helping smaller businesses to think more creatively. There is a positive atmosphere and people are optimistic about the future although it is tough for businesses and you have to fight hard every day.”

A CBI spokesman said: “The key to long-term consumer confidence is for ministers to take a much more aggressive approach to generating long-term growth – investing in housing; boosting exports; cutting business red tape; and driving up lending to firms.”

The TUC has said the research highlights the need for fair and decent wages for all those in the private and public sectors.

Megan Dobney, regional secretary for the TUC in the East of England said: “Employers, local and central government need to recognise the importance of decent wages in delivering sustainable economic growth. They can start by becoming ‘living wage’ employers and being more transparent about their pay systems.”