York has a “broken local economy that is not working in the interests of the people in our city”.

That’s according to York Central MP Rachael Maskell. She was responding to the news, broken by YorkMix on Monday, that wages in York dropped by more than any other city in the country last year.

The new Centre For Cities report also revealed that for the first time, the cost of buying a home in York is more than 10 times the average city salary.

According to the MP, this demonstrates that York has a serious problem of underemployment, where people are not being used to their full potential.

‘Wages a disgrace’

Average workplace wages

10 cities with the lowest weekly workplace earnings

RankCityAv weekly wages 2018 £Av weekly wages 2017 £Real wage growth, 2017-18 £
54Norwich4694618
55Swansea468475-7
56Leicester467491-24
57Stoke465467-2
58Doncaster4594581
59York449514-65
60Huddersfield4434359
61Birkenhead4424384
62Southend43942217
63Wigan438446-9
United Kingdom5555514

Source: Centre for Cities

Rachael Maskell said:

  • We’re seeing a broken local economy in York that is not working in the interests of the people in our city.

    A failure of leadership by the Tory Lib Dem coalition in our city council has seen York record the eighth lowest number of homes actually built in the city compared to the rest of the country.

    It is a disgrace that the average wages in York dropped by more than any other city in Britain last year. We’ve had four wasted years of a council not seeking to improve the basics that residents rely on.


She called for a change in approach that “focuses resolutely on improving everyday lives through access to genuinely affordable housing and secure work that pays a fair wage”.

‘Many positives’

A City of York Council spokesman said that the Cities Outlook Report features many positives about York.

“The skills level in York is at nearly 49 per cent of the population, far higher than any other city in the north of England, our digital connectivity is the fastest in the UK and we are seeing unprecedented investment in building new exciting commercial spaces across the city, bringing with it more jobs and more businesses into the city.”

He added:

  • We have a strong programme for attracting higher paying jobs to the city and have recently been successful in getting Leeds City Region funding to continue our efforts.

Additional reporting: Chloe Laversuch – Local Democracy Reporter