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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

A quarter of NI’s households left with less than £32 per week after paying for essentials

Consumer council logo with pound coins

Northern Ireland’s lowest earning households have seen their discretionary income fall by over half since the first quarter of 2021, leaving them with only £31.31 per week.

 

These figures come from the Consumer Council’s latest Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker for Q3 2023 (July to September), which is published on a quarterly basis and now tracks changes to income and expenditure for households in Northern Ireland across four income groups (quartiles).

 



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

 

The Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker also found that Northern Ireland’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

 



The ability of households in Northern Ireland 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, 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 at www.consumercouncil.org.uk.”

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