Hull has lowest UK average wages, report says

Hull city centre Image copyright Getty Images

Hull, Blackburn and Blackpool have the lowest average weekly wage, according to a report from the think tank Centre for Cities, which examined the health of the UK's top 63 city-economies.

London, Reading and Aldershot had the highest wages, according to the report.

It suggested the north-south divide is "wide as ever" and that salaries across the UK have fallen by £1,300 a year.

The lack of affordable housing is putting pressure on workers in the South-East of England, it warned.

In its annual report, Centre for Cities, highlights the link between low wages and the need to top up people's incomes with welfare benefits.

It looked at the UK's 63 largest cities and found that there was a difference of £253 in average weekly incomes from the highest to the lowest paid.

But the amount claimed in benefits was roughly the same across the cities covered by the report.

Hull had the lowest weekly wage at £376, Blackburn was second at £404 and Blackpool was a little higher at £414.

The leader of Hull City Council Stephen Brady said: "We understand the need to address and boost skills within knowledge intensive, digital and professional industries."

He said the city was seeing high levels of investment from the offshore wind industry and that being named UK City of Culture 2017 would help create new jobs in the region.

The cities with the highest salaries were London at £629, Reading at £591, and Aldershot at £571. They also saw the fastest jobs growth.

But in the areas where salaries were near the top of the scale, the high cost of housing meant many were still having to claim benefits.

'Pressing issues'

The report says the lack of affordable homes means the government's plans to reduce the welfare bill would be difficult to deliver.

Only one in four places was delivering a "high wage, low welfare" economy, the report said.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities said: "One of the most pressing issues is the need to tackle skills gaps and improve school attainment. As well as investment in infrastructure the top priority should be on addressing housing shortages."

On a more positive note the report shows that 14 UK cities have hit the target for "high-wage, low-welfare" economies. It calls on the government to give local councils more power to invest in employment programmes, which if successful, would reduce their need for benefits.

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