Average wages in East Ayrshire have risen by less than five per cent as the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite and real wages continue to fall across the UK, new figures show.

The Trade Union Congress said the new Prime Minister Liz Truss "must get pay rising" ahead of a difficult winter with many households worried about how they will make ends meet.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show median pay in the area covering East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire was £2,048 per month in August – up from £1,953 a year before.

It means wages have risen by 4.9 per cent in the last 12 months, just as the cost-of-living crisis has begun.

Nationally, the median monthly wages have risen by 6.5 per cent in the last year to £2,111 in August, but this still represents a real-terms pay cut thanks to soaring inflation.

Further ONS figures show real-terms pay excluding bonuses – taking inflation into account – fell by 2.8 per cent year on year between May and July across the country, among the largest drop seen since records began in 2011.

Unemployment among 16 to 64-year-olds in Scotland stood at 3.1 per cent – down from 4.4 per cent the year before.

Despite the fall in unemployment, economic inactivity rose to 21.7 per cent across the UK – it was at 22.4 per cent in Scotland.

Greg Thwaites, research director of think tank Resolution Foundation, said: "Instead of the cost-of-living crisis tempting people back into work, more people are exiting the jobs market altogether, primarily due to poor health reasons."

The Treasury did not comment due to the period of national mourning.