Higher pay deals on the way, suggests Martin Weale

Man looking at job ads Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The CBI's predictions suggest the recent trend for rising wages and falling unemployment is likely to continue into next year

Bigger pay rises may be on offer in the coming year, according to Martin Weale, a member of the Bank of England's interest rate setting committee.

He told Radio 5 live's Wake up to Money programme that employers were clearly becoming more confident.

Mr Weale predicted this would feed into higher pay awards to employees.

His comments came as a survey from the CBI business organisation found that half of UK firms plan to expand their workforce next year.

This would lead to more permanent jobs being created than temporary ones, the CBI said.

Changing mood

Mr Weale sits on the the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is responsible for setting interest rates.

At the past five meetings of the MPC, Mr Weale - along with Ian McCafferty - has voted to raise the official bank rate from its historic low of 0.5% to 0.75%.

He has argued that the growing strength of the economy means that it is time for a rate rise.

"When I go and visit businesses throughout the country, I find that they are talking of pay increases in a way quite different say from what I was hearing early in the year, certainly this time last year," Mr Weale told the BBC.

"I'm getting a more general sense now that people are talking about pay increases which are materially higher than they'd offered in the past, whereas a year ago I would come across quite a few firms saying they were going to have a pay-freeze."

Looking up

The CBI's survey found that all UK nations and regions were expected to expand employment, and prospects for young people were better than last year.

However, it warned that that skills gaps could prevent some of those jobs being filled.

The CBI's survey heard from more than 300 firms which collectively employ more 1.25 million people.

The survey also had positive news on pay, with increases anticipated in 2015, albeit at a "cautious" rate.

But firms also expressed concern about new regulation damaging job creation.

"We want to see everyone enjoy the rewards of the economic recovery," said the CBI's deputy director general, Katja Hall.

"It's a concern that the UK's growing skills gap is now seen as the number one workforce threat to the long-term health of its economy.

"Companies and the government need to work together to find ways to develop skills within the workforce and help employees move into higher skilled and better paid jobs," she added.

'Lost ground'

The CBI's findings indicate that the trend seen in recent official employment and pay statistics is likely to continue.

The most recent data showed wage growth in the UK was picking up.

Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said average earnings, excluding bonuses, were up 1.6% from a year earlier and the number of people unemployed was down by 63,000 to 1.96 million.

However, the TUC's general secretary, Frances O'Grady, pointed out there was a lot of lost ground to be made up.

"After seven years of falling wages and few decent pay rises on offer, Britain's workers are set to wait years for their living standards to get back to where they were before the financial crisis," she said.

"We need stronger growth and better labour market regulation, to ensure that the rewards of the recovery are fairly shared and to avoid getting stuck with a low value, cut-price economy."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites