WAGES in real terms have fallen by £1,388 – or 4.3 per cent – across Keighley since 2010, figures reveal.

Labour Party analysis of Office for National Statistics data shows the drop in average wage, taking into account inflation.

The figure applies to the whole constituency, which includes Ilkley.

Former Keighley MP John Grogan, who will contest the seat again for Labour at the next general election, spoke about the "human consequences" of falling living standards whilst addressing a constituency party event at the town's Central Hall.

The event – an annual tea – was attended by around 40 party members including another former Keighley MP, Ann Cryer.

Mr Grogan said: "The human consequences of this fall in living standards are around us in the towns and villages which make up our constituency.

"Latest analysis from the House of Commons library suggests over a quarter of children in Keighley and Ilkley grow up in what's classed as absolute poverty. In practical terms, this means their parents are having to choose every day between feeding them properly or keeping them warm.

"Obviously Keighley Central is harder hit than Ilkley and Oxenhope, but behind closed doors even in the more affluent areas there are families struggling on a daily basis.

"We need a change in our national economic policy. It is no good blaming Covid or President Putin when the answer lies in our own hands. One crucial component of getting wages up and improving living standards is growing the economy by investing in the green industries of the future. Local businesses tell me that what is needed above all is a long-term economic plan and stability so that investment decisions can be made with confidence.

"Last year was characterised by frequent dramatic switches in economic policy at a national level and we are still paying the price.

"The second boost to growth could come from devolving economic powers and decisions from Whitehall to Yorkshire. When it comes to issues like transport and skills in our county, ministers from whatever party do not know better than local elected representatives."

Mr Grogan added: "It was appropriate that we met for our annual tea in a room named after the late Lord Healey of Riddlesden. He grew up in Keighley and when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1970s he protected the poor and pensioners from the economic troubles of the time."