Northern Ireland spending power remains lowest of all UK regions
While discretionary income across the UK continues to rise, Northern Ireland families still remain worst off of all regions with £95 less to spend per week than the average UK household.
Compiled by CEBR, Asda’s latest Income Tracker report has revealed that while the average UK household now has £192 a week of discretionary income, up by £18 a week (10.6%) on the same time last year, families in Northern Ireland have a weekly spend of just £97(money left to spend once all essential items are paid for).
And even though NI is still seeing the strongest percentage growth (15.1%) it still lags behind the UK average in monetary terms.
In recognition of its 10th anniversary of retailing in NI, Asda hosted a business briefing to reflect on the Income Tracker report, its correlation with the local economy and the reasons why there is such disparity with other UK regions.
Major factors affecting spending power include:
NI has the highest percentage of workers on or below minimum wage (10%)
In average salary terms, NI (£18,764) lags behind the UK (£22044), a gap of over £3000
In terms of the top 10% of earners the gaps increases to £9000*
NI spends more than any other region on essential items such as food, petrol and energy**
However there is good news for those holding the purse strings in Northern Ireland households as spending power continues to grow in percentage terms. The research shows that household budgets benefit greatly from the sharp declines seen in the price of: petrol, food and energy bills over the last twelve months.
Rob Harbron, Managing Economist at CEBR said:
“After a difficult few years since the recession, it’s encouraging to see household spending power picking up quickly in Northern Ireland. Consumer spending is helping to support the economy this year as a result. We are not quite out of the woods yet though as higher inflation next year, the prospect of higher interest rates and continued government cutbacks will all have their effect on family finances.”
Asda’s Chief Customer Officer Barry Williams added:
“Northern Ireland continues to be one of the fastest growing areas for spare income. Traditionally, people in Northern Ireland spend more on essential items than any other region and they’re benefitting in falling prices of vehicle fuel, energy bills and food – it’s also reassuring to see that wage growth has recently accelerated and all of this is contributing to some of the fastest spending power growth in the UK. However, the impact of the financial crisis still looms with customers sticking with their savvy shopping habits and reprioritising their spending on treats and activities with their families – remaining vigilant that the economic landscape can quickly change.”