AVERAGE wages in Dudley have risen by less than seven per cent as the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the new Prime Minister Liz Truss "must get pay rising" ahead of a difficult winter with many households worried about how they will make ends meet.

The latest ONS figures show median pay in Dudley was £1,981 per month in August – up from £1,857 a year before.

It means wages have risen by 6.7 per cent in the last 12 months, just as the cost-of-living crisis has begun.

Nationally, the median monthly wages have risen by 6.5 per cent in the last year to £2,111 in August, but this still represents a real terms pay cut thanks to soaring inflation.

Further ONS figures show real-term pay excluding bonuses – taking inflation into account – fell by 2.8 per cent year on year between May and July across the country, among the largest drop seen since records began in 2011.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Every worker deserves a decent standard of living, and as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, millions of families don’t know how they will make ends meet this winter."

Ms O'Grady urged Mrs Truss to increase pay packets, including boosting the minimum wage, giving public sector workers a decent pay rise, and allowing unions to negotiate better compensation for working people.

Unemployment among 16 to 64-year-olds also continued to fall nationally year on year, reaching its lowest point since 1974 at 3.7 per cent in the three months to July, separate ONS statistics outline.

In the West Midlands, it stood at 4.7 per cent – down from 5.3 per cent the year before and the highest in the country.

Despite the fall in unemployment, economic inactivity rose to 21.7 per cent across the country – it was at 21 per cent in the West Midlands.