It’s difficult to disentangle this result from the fact Sheffield is the low-pay capital city of the country: its average hourly rates are 10% below the British average.
Is the cost of living in Sheffield 10% lower than the national average? More than that perhaps?
I’d think it entirely possible, using some local area PPP adjustments, that many areas of the south offer less disposable income after housing costs….
In cities such as Sheffield, low-paid and insecure jobs have filled the vacuum instead. A young woman speaks to me as she pushes a pram. She was a duty manager at a supermarket. Even though she had many responsibilities and “worked all the hours God sent me”, she languished on the minimum wage. They make a lot of money, these big supermarkets, I say. “Yes – off people like me, working their arses off.”
What, 3%, 4% of turnover?
Cheryl is right, of course. The research on immigration does suggest it can suppress wages at the bottom end of the labour market.
Without an inspiring message from the left, the danger is that backlash against immigrants will grow. Blaming foreign workers for shrinking wages is, after all, a simple and easily digested message.