NI consumers hardest hit in UK as discretionary income drops 13%

The discretionary purchasing power of the average family in Northern Ireland fell to £127 per week in the first quarter of 2022, almost £20 per week (13.3%) less than in the same period ago is one year old and £108 less than the UK average of £235.

The latest sda Income Tracker report for March 2022, compiled independently by Cebr, indicates that Northern Ireland is facing the biggest contraction in purchasing power of any region in the UK.

For the UK as a whole, a 6.5% annual contraction in March meant that families had £16.19 less in weekly discretionary income compared to the same period last year; the biggest drop in the history of Income Tracker. Discretionary spending is defined as disposable income after all taxes, essentials, and bills have been paid.

NI has a larger share of workers in the public sector, a sector that has suffered from lagging wage growth in recent months.

The withdrawal of the Universal Credit hike (October 21) was an additional factor, given the high level of NI claimants, Cebr says, with household living standards here under the greatest pressure in the UK due current cost of living. crisis.

Regionally, the North East of England is the closest region to NI at £152 a week, against Wales at £198, Scotland at £236 and London, the latter being the only region to show no change from the previous quarter.

Low-income families had 74% less disposable income in March than a year ago, due to commodity market pressures, rising inflation and soaring utility costs.

“The latest Income Tracker report highlights the financial strain on households amid the current cost of living crisis,” said Sam Miley, senior economist at Cebr.

“Although purchasing power is down in almost every area, those in Northern Ireland have been particularly hard hit, with inflation soaring and wage growth generally lagging behind. These trends are likely to continue over the course of the year. coming months, which means that households could find themselves in an even more precarious situation.

Asda has announced a series of measures to support UK households, ‘lowering and locking in’ the price of more than 100 family staples until the end of 2022 and making a multi-million pound investment in its new range Just Essentials at Asda focused on value.

It has also increased its rate of pay to £10.10 an hour from July 2022 for 120,000 workers.

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