Wage deals in the private sector increased 2.6% in the three months to the end of September, half the current rate of inflation, according to the latest report from Income Data Services. The report, which further highlights the squeeze on consumer spending, said that employees in the fast food sector, pubs and restaurants experienced only a slight increase in wages during the period. Ken Mulkearn, editor of the report, said: “it’s a fall in real terms, and that’s going to be already affecting the extent of spending ion the economy, and the economic demand more widely.”