Britain Facing Divorce Boom over Next Year as Wages Plummet

Britain is facing an impending divorce boom next year as unemployment rates surge and wages and housing prices plummet, research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has claimed.

Projections from the PwC professional services firm have forecasted that divorce rates will soar at the fastest speed since 1971, with 140,000 people in England and Wales expected to have their marriages ended, a 23 per cent rise.

It comes as wages are expected to fall by 2 per cent to £34,643 next year, which adjusting for inflation would put real wages on par with 2006 levels, The Telegraph reported. Adding insult to injury, the decline in British wages would also mean that they would fall below the average salary for French workers, despite the fact that the French work 38.7 hours a week compared to 41.3 in the UK.

While PwC placed a large share of the blame for this on inflation hitting Britain harder than France, the reality is that amid mass migration starting under the Tony Blair administration and continuing to the present day under successive Conservative prime ministers, wages have been largely stagnant in the UK over the past two decades.

In addition to falling wages, some half a million more people are expected to be out of work altogether over the next two years. Unsurprisingly, the firm noted that these factors would contribute to Britons being the unhappiest they have been since records began last decade.

Another major economic headwind facing the country will be a steep decline in the prices of houses, a key store of wealth for many middle-income families. The projections predicted that housing prices are expected to fall by eight per cent, the second largest recorded decline over the past 70 years. However, this is not expected to correlate with a surge in sales, with many expected to try to hold onto their properties until the economy turns around.

Responding to the findings, Barret Kupelian, senior economist at PwC said: “2022 has obviously been a highly challenging year of the UK economy, and it is not surprising that these chilly headwinds will continue throughout 2023, bringing with it some unwelcome milestones in terms of economic and social well-being measures.”

“There remains a strong relationship between economic conditions – as measured by the sum of unemployment and inflation rates – and happiness indices,” adding that it is likely that the impacts of the economic collapse would likely be “felt for some years”.

The professional services firm did note that besides the economic calamities facing the British public, another key reason for the expected rise in divorce rates was the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill by the nominally Conservative government, which has paved the way for the introduction of no-fault divorces in April.

Similar legislation introduced in the United States has been tied to rising divorce rates, with a six-fold increase in separations seen in the two years following the introduction of no-fault divorce.

Even prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce, the UK was already facing a marriage crisis, with rates plummeting to the lowest level in recorded history in 2020. The marriage rate for heterosexual couples in Britain has declined by 45 per cent since 1972 and has been cut in half since 1940. Despite the population of the UK more than doubling since 1895, the total number of marriages recorded in 2017 was equal to that of 125 years ago.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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