Northern Ireland

PwC says rising household bills will hit Northern Ireland hardest

Purse and money Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Northern Ireland wages are only about 85% of the UK average

Northern Ireland will feel the impact of rising household bills more than any other part of the UK, according to new research on the economy.

Housing and utility costs will account for more than 25% of household spending by 2020, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said.

But because NI wages are only about 85% of the UK average, "local households will spend proportionately more".

Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers.

NI households already spend more on essentials like petrol, food and energy.

PwC also expects Northern Ireland to have had the lowest economic growth (1.6%) of the UK's 12 regions in 2015.

It adds that the region will find the chancellor's autumn statement, due later this month, "challenging" in terms of more public sector cutbacks.

PwC's chief economist Esmond Birnie said: "The executive will need all the fiscal resources it can muster to help sustain the region through a slow and difficult recovery."