July 12, 2017 / 2:24 PM / a year ago

GRAPHIC-UK household pain evident before election

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) - The failure of British Prime Minister Theresa May to strengthen her government in last month’s election — indeed, to hang on to her majority — came as a surprise. Perhaps it should not have.

If an electorate votes with its wallet, then Britons would not have been particularly happy when they opened theirs before the ballot on June 8.

As the following graphic shows, household disposable income, measured quarterly, was actually falling on a year-on-year basis. That followed a decline in the pace of growth for roughly a year (starting a few months into former prime minister David Cameron’s 2015 Conservative majority government).

At the same time, inflation was rising, particularly after the post-Brexit vote, when the value of sterling tumbled. The two “lines” crossed each other in the third quarter last year.

The last time numbers are available for both sets of data prints, the gap between the year-on-year inflation rate and the disposable income change was around 370 basis points.

That would have felt like quite a pay cut heading to the polls.

Reporting by Jeremy Gaunt, editing by Larry King

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