Bank of England chief Mervyn King: standard of living to plunge at fastest rate since 1920s
Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again.
By Robert Winnett
Families will see their disposable income eaten up as they “pay the inevitable price” for the financial crisis, Mervyn King warned.
With wages failing to keep pace with rising inflation, workers’ take- home pay will end the year worth the same as in 2005 – the most prolonged fall in living standards for more than 80 years, he claimed.
Mr King issued the warning in a speech in Newcastle upon Tyne after official figures showed that gross domestic product fell by 0.5 per cent during the final three months last year. The Government blamed the unexpected reduction – the first since the third quarter of 2009 – on the freezing weather that paralysed much of the country last month.
But there were fears that the country was poised to slip back into recession, defined as two successive quarters of negative growth. Economists said the situation was “an absolute disaster”.
The economic gloom deepened this morning as figures showed that mortgage lending by the major banks dived to an 11-and-a-half-year low during December.