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Data Sources for Pay Claims Briefing No 126
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Data Sources for Pay Claims Briefing No 126


This briefing aims to provide a guide to various sources of data that can be used when drafting pay claims. This includes not only national data such as the rate of inflation but also local information such as house prices, council tax rates and local unemployment levels. Where applicable the full internet address will be given to assist members to find the relevant data.

Average Earnings

When drafting a pay claim it is important to assess how the average earnings have changed across the country. For a UK wide assessment the National Statistics website (http://www.statistics.gov.uk) provides an overview. However UNISON Scotland also receives more detailed information from IDS publications. This includes not only the overall change in average earnings but also breaks it down in terms of public and private sector. Please contact the Policy and Information Team if you require this information.


Traditionally inflation has been measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI). This measured the average change from month to month in the prices of goods and services bought by most households in the UK. However in the Pre-Budget Report on 10 December 2003, the Chancellor of the Exchequer changed the UK inflation target from one based on the RPI to one based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), also more commonly known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Like the RPI, the CPI measures the average change from month to month in the prices of consumer goods and services. However it differs in the particular households it represents, the range of goods and services included, and the way the index is constructed.

These inflation figures are updated each month and are available on the National Statistics website (see address above). Unison Scotland also subscribes to IDS Pay Report which provides not only some historical data on inflation but also some selected forecasts. Please contact the Policy and Information Team if you require this information.


The unemployment rate may also be of use to activists when drafting pay claims. Again the National Statistics website (see above) will provide an overview of the level of unemployment within the UK. However each month the House of Commons produces an updated paper on unemployment by each Westminster constituency, as well as giving an average figure for Scotland as a whole. This can be accessed at:


Economic Indicators

The House of Commons also regularly publishes an Economic Indicator (same web address as above) which provides an overview of the UK economy (with some regional data) covering issues such as inflation, unemployment, average earnings, interest rates etc.

Other general data sources include:

Scottish Economic Statistics


Housing Costs

Another issue which may be of use when negotiating a pay claim is local housing costs. Information is available online which compares Band D council tax across Scotland (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1070/0009813.xls), but for a clearer breakdown of all council tax bands it is easier to go to each council website. These can be found at:


For information on house prices according to local authority areas go to:


For statistical bulletins on housing, homelessness and households go to:

Local Resources

There are also some resources which cover a range of economic indicators, including unemployment, average earnings, corporate sector information etc for smaller local areas. This includes such information according to local Council areas:


or according to Scottish Parliamentary constituencies:


(This opens up with details on Aberdeen Central constituency to move to another constituency go to the toolbar at the bottom of the page and click the arrows until you find the constituency you are after and then click it for the relevant information).

Another source for local information including Scottish Parliamentary constituencies, local government areas and even council ward areas is the Neighbourhood Statistics website (http://www.sns.gov.uk/). It provides information on health, education, poverty, unemployment, housing, population, crime and social / community issues at the data zone level and above.

Further Information

Further information on pay claims can be found at:

UNISON Bargaining Zone


Action for Branches

This briefing is primarily for information purposes to enable branches and activists to access data sources which may be of use when developing a pay claim.

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Further Information

Further information on pay claims can be found at:

UNISON Bargaining Zone