NI Households Left With Less Than £32 Per Week After Essentials

Discretionary income has fallen by over half since 2021 for Northern Ireland's lowest earning households, leaving them with only £31.31 per week on average, according to the Consumer Council.

The Council has published its latest Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker for Q3 2023 (July to September), which is published on a quarterly basis and tracks changes to income and expenditure for households in Northern Ireland across four income groups (quartiles).

The Tracker shows that 50% of NI households have less than £90 per week after their essential spending costs.

The Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker also found that NI's lowest earning households in Quartile 1 have been the worst affected during the cost of living crisis.

In Q3 2023 (July to September), these households:

• have 8% less income before tax than the UK average

• spent 53% of their total basic spending on food, rent, energy, and transport

• saw their discretionary income rise 17.8% over the last quarter from £26.58 to £31.31 per week
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The ability of households in NI to absorb unexpected bills or price rises differs sharply depending on household income. NI's highest earning households have almost 21 times more discretionary income left to spend every week compared to the lowest earning households.

Anne-Marie Murphy, our Director of Strategy & Emerging Markets at the Consumer Council, said: "The lowest earning households continue to be the worst affected during the cost of living crisis, losing over half of their spending power.

"Although discretionary incomes for these households have risen over the past year, the heightened cost of basic goods and services has meant that many families in Northern Ireland are struggling to pay their bills.

"This expanded Household Expenditure Tracker considers all Northern Ireland households and shows that 50% of Northern Ireland Households have less than £90 after all essential bills are paid. Given the volatile prices of food, fuel and electricity over the last two years, it is worrying how little money many families have to cover unexpected bills or price rises.

"To help consumers, the Consumer Council offers a variety of support and advice including interactive tools to compare energy costs and advice on how to reduce your bills and make your money go further."

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