Wage growth has slipped below the rate of inflation, a development that threatens damage to living standards and the economy through an erosion of household spending power.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that average wages, when the effects of bonuses were excluded, grew by 2.2% in the three months to February.

While that was slightly better than economists had predicted, it still marked a 0.1% fall on the previous month’s figure which meant salaries failed to keep pace with the rate of inflation.

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