Lowest earning households have only £29 a week left after paying bills
The lowest earning households in the north have only £29 a week to spend after paying their bills amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, it's been reported.
The Consumer Council’s first Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker, published on Friday, has identified the largest drop in discretionary income since the pandemic - a sharp 55.1% drop from Q1 2021.
The Consumer Council’s new Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker reveals that in Q1 of 2022 (January to March), Northern Ireland’s lowest earning households:
1. Saw their weekly income after tax rise by only £0.27 (0.1%);
2. Experienced weekly spending on basic goods increase by almost £7 (3.5%);
3. Spent 53% of their total basic spending on rent, energy, food and transport; and
4. Saw their discretionary income fall by 18.5%, leaving these households with only £29 per week to live on,
Noyona Chundur, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said: “The Consumer Council has launched this Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker to quantify the reality that vulnerable consumers are facing.
"These households spent almost half of their income after tax on rent, energy, food, and transport in the first three months of this year, before many of the largest price increases.
“For many, it is not a choice of heating or eating, as the sad and unthinkable reality is that many citizens cannot afford either. With vulnerable households having only £29 per week available, one unexpected bill is all it takes to reach this point.”
The Consumer Council has launched its new Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker to represent consumers and provide insights and emerging issues to government, policy makers and stakeholders during the cost-of-living crisis.
The Tracker complements the Consumer Council’s existing research portfolio, which captures current consumer experiences and sentiment in Northern Ireland across our statutory areas including energy, postal services, transport, water and food affordability and accessibility.
The Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker will be released quarterly and shows what the lowest earning and most vulnerable households in Northern Ireland are experiencing financially including changes to their income, expenditure and in which areas they are spending most of their money.