NI spending power in up as inflation passes peak

Familes have more money to spend but Northern Ireland still lies some way behind the rest of the UK
Familes have more money to spend but Northern Ireland still lies some way behind the rest of the UK

The spending power of NI families has risen to £107 per week according to the latest findings of the Asda Income Tracker.

The index, which analyses discretional spending ability or income left after after essential expenses, reveals that household spending power in the province grew by 6.4% although from a historically low base compared to the rest of the UK.

It said the rise had been driven by strong employment growth, a rise in public sector pay, and a decrease in the cost of fuel marking an increase of £6 over the same period in 2017.

Although the figure in London grew by just 3.4% the gap can be seen in the fact that discretionary income is still only 39% of the £275/week average in the capital.

The rise in the income tracker is reflected nationwide as average family spending power across the UK reached £200 per week – an increase of £1.87 compared with the same month a year earlier, equivalent to +0.9%.

This marks the first gain in the Asda Income Tracker since July 2017.

The news of ‘green shoots’ comes as inflation now seems to be passed its peak with the exchange rate effect of the post-Brexit fall in the pound moving out of the statistics.

“After a difficult 2017, the increase in the ASDA Income Tracker provides households with a welcome break from the ongoing squeeze on family incomes,” said Kay Neufeld, an economist with the Centre for Economics and Business.

“After remaining stubbornly high for months, inflation is finally slowing down while wages continue on a steady upwards trend.”