U.K. Wage Growth Slows to 21-Month Low as Spending Power Falls

Take-home pay growth at Britain’s largest publicly traded companies slowed to the least in 21 months in the fourth quarter, reducing Britons’ spending power, VocaLink Ltd. said.

Incomes after tax and other deductions rose 0.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with 0.9 percent in the three months through November, the London-based group said in a statement today. A separate British Retail Consortium report today showed shop-price inflation remained at an annual 1.5 percent in December.

The BRC said yesterday that Christmas was “underwhelming” for U.K. retailers, with sales barely rising, and the outlook for 2013 is little better. VocaLink said that while private-sector workers’ actual monthly take-home pay has increased by 93 pounds ($149) compared with 2008, it’s on average 89 pounds lower once adjusted for inflation.

VocaLink, which processes 90 percent of British salaries paid directly to bank accounts, uses salary-payment data from more than 200 members of the FTSE 350 Index and 600 government-related organizations for the report.

In the BRC price report, food inflation slowed to an annual 4.1 percent from 4.6 percent in November, while non-food prices were unchanged.

In a separate release, KPMG LLP and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said an index of full-time hiring fell to a three-month low of 53.2 in December from 56 in November. Readings above 50 indicate an increase in hiring.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.