UK 16 August 2013 German newspaper Die Welt: "Britain on the way to the EU poorhouse" News of the "cost of living crisis" is spreading beyond these shores. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML There was much irritation among the Tories this week at the attention devoted by the BBC and others to the finding that UK average hourly wages have fallen by 5.5% since mid-2010, a faster rate of decline than every EU country except Portugal, the Netherlands and Greece. "It's a Labour story!", they cried, to which the BBC reasonably replied by pointing out that the figures were collated by the House of Commons library. But despite the Conservatives' best efforts, the story has spread beyond these shores. As Ed Miliband's chief strategist Stewart Wood noted on Twitter last night, German newspaper Die Welt ran a piece on the figures yesterday headlined "Britain on the way to the EU poorhouse". As CCHQ boasts that growth over the last year (1.4%) has outstripped that of the eurozone (0.7%) and matched that of the US, it's an inconvenient reminder that not all are sharing in the recovery. If Labour is to win the election, however, it won't be enough for it to convince voters that they're worse off under the Tories. It will also need to convince them that they'd be better off under Labour. In the 2012 US election, Mitt Romney similarly resurrected Ronald Reagan's famous line - "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" - but the electorate stuck with Obama because the numbers were moving in the right direction and they doubted Romney could do any better. The Tories hope and expect UK voters will take the same view of Labour in 2015. All of which explains why party activists are desperate for those "policy goodies". › “A kitten with a ball of wool”: The Brazilians by Danny Blanchflower - 4 January 1963 A person stands near dilapidated properties stand in the seaside town of East Jaywick, the most deprived place in England, on April 3, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles What actually is Article 50? The small print that will trigger Brexit Who will win the Copeland by-election? What is the Scottish Six and why are people getting so upset about it?