Survey suggests NI disposable incomes rise but less than half UK average

Cash machine The survey suggests households in Northern Ireland had £4 more to spend on average last month

Disposable income in Northern Ireland households is increasing but is less than half of the UK average, according to an economic consultancy.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) produces a monthly "income tracker" for the Asda supermarket chain.

It examines spending habits and discretionary incomes across the UK.

The report concluded that discretionary incomes in Northern Ireland increased by £4 per week last month to £80.

In comparison, it found that during March, the average UK household had £170 a week available to spend after all tax and essential living costs have been deducted.

'Stabilisation'

Speaking on Good Morning Ulster, Ian Boyd, a married father of two, said making ends meet is still a struggle.

He said: "I actually believe monthly outgoings are up. Nothing is getting cheaper, the cost of everything seems to get higher and higher."

He added: "Since we've had our second child we've had to cut our cloth accordingly. Luckily we have had help from parents and family members."

Carl Whyte, 34, said he had seen no improvement in his financial situation but there had been a "stabilisation".

He said: "A year or two ago you definitely noticed things were getting much tighter in your weekly and monthly spend.

"You are not seeing the pressures you did back then on energy, fuel and food.

"I can't say I've ever struggled. I'm not married and I don't have children, so I was able to cut back on what you would call discretionary spend."

Budget

Claire Bailey, a 44-year-old single mother with two teenagers, said: "I think it's a wee bit of a joke to say £4 per week is making you better off.

"I wouldn't call £80 per week disposable income. In my house, I call that firefighting."

She added that she did not notice any savings in her household income in the past year.

"There's no such thing as saving in my house. It's just daily budget management.

"If this report is showing we have a disposable income of £80 and the rest of the UK has £170, then I'd encourage my teenagers to maybe go and broaden their horizons elsewhere."

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