Forget about splurging on gifts- time to tighten those belts. Again.
New figures from Cebr and Asda have looked at our disposable income and have concluded that things are getting (even) worse. September showed the largest drop in weekly disposable income for six months, with the average spendable amount now standing at £157 a week per household.
Part of the reason is the pitiful state of wages, up just 0.8% in the last three months, compounded by the sharp increase in energy bills, up by around 8% (if you’re lucky). The latest Asda Income tracker also calculated that the cost of utilities is now 24.7% higher than it was in 2008, equivalent to £700 a year, and that bills will top £4,200 by 2018.
Across the UK, almost every region shared the loss in spending power, apart from the East of England (up 1.2%) and Scotland (up 0.6%), which the report authors attribute to stronger local labour markets in these areas. Income fell fastest in the West Midands (3.5%) and in Northern Ireland (3.5%) where discretionary income was down to just £60 a week - almost a quarter of the amount available to households in London (£235 a week).
Rob Harbron, Senior Economist, Cebr, said:“The UK economic recovery continues to gain momentum in 2013…[but] the effects of this recovery are not translating into growth in purchasing power for the average UK household. Inflation on essential items continues to stand well below income growth, which is being held back by spare capacity in the labour market.”
Unemployment fell by 18,000 in the last quarter to 7.7%, or 2.49 million people, the lowest rate since October 2012. However, 18.5% of those working part-time are only doing so because they can’t find full time work, the highest proportion since records began in 1992.