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This is the first of two articles looking at the decline in the quality of life for working people in Britain today. This first article focuses on the workplace, where there has been relative decline in wages and deterioration in the conditions of employment. The second part looks at the attack on the 'social wage'. This consists of the services and facilities we access such as health care, education, public transport and local services - all of which contribute towards the quality of life for working people in modern society. They form the provision in society of things working people, unlike the rich, could not afford to buy individually but provided on behalf of people by the State. Together the two elements - direct wages and the social wage - provide our quality of life, but both are now under attack, creating an impoverished life in Britain for working people.