THE West Midlands region has the lowest household income in the UK after housing costs, latest figures show.
Recently published House of Commons library research has shown that the West Midlands is one of the poorest regions in the UK when it comes to household income.
The TUC (Trades Union Congress) calls on West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to ‘rise to the challenge’ and address this deficit.
Once housing costs have been stripped out, average household income in the West Midlands is £370, well below the £459 average in the South East, and the national average of £402.
And before housing costs, only Wales and Northern Ireland have a lower median weekly household income.
The region’s councils agreed to form a combined authority with an elected mayor in return for the transfer of powers and funding from Whitehall to the West Midlands as part of the government’s so-called devolution policy.
But developments in infrastructure and addressing issues such as homelessness seem to have obscured the daily pressures of West Midlands households struggling with the cost of living.
TUC Midlands regional secretary Lee Barron said: “These figures demonstrate what we have been saying for years, that the West Midlands has been getting a poor deal and we need to do far more for the people in our region.
“Too many of the jobs in the West Midlands are poorly payed and insecure.
“We need to see a radically different approach of investment in infrastructure, training and innovative use of procurement to secure decent jobs.
“And crucially we need to see far smarter social interventions to provide greater equality of opportunity to tackle deprivation and inequality that has been entrenched in too many of our communities for too long.
“To me, that is the challenge of devolution.
“If we haven’t shifted these figures in the years to come and given a real boost to household income for all our citizens then devolution will have failed.
“We will continue to bang the drum for decent jobs and opportunity, we need the WMCA to rise to the challenge of ensuring devolution works for all.”