Northern Ireland

NI faces further 'financial squeeze'

Northern Ireland households face a further five years of financial squeeze according to a report by the economic consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

It produces a monthly "income tracker" for the Asda supermarket chain.

It examines spending habits and discretionary incomes across the UK.

It concludes that spending power in NI has already been eroded due to some of the slowest income growth and fastest increases in the cost of living.

It predicts a further squeeze due to falling public spending and caps on benefits.

The report said that the average Northern Ireland household could face a further 20% (£600) decline in their annual spending power.

It adds that across the UK in the next five years households will be £1,300 a year worse off in real terms than in 2009, when spending power was at its peak.

A key reason is the prediction that inflation will outpace wage growth, growing year on year by an average of 2.5% compared to average wage increases of 2.2%.