Further drop in spending power for Northern Ireland families
Asda’s latest Income Tracker has revealed that the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact most significantly on local families, as Northern Ireland is once again highlighted as the worst performing region in the UK.
At £95 per week, the discretionary income of the average NI family – the amount left after all taxes and essential bills are paid – decreased by 4% in Q2 compared to the same period in 2022. This is equivalent to a drop of £4 per week, or a shortfall of £17 across the month.
This is in sharp contrast to the UK as a whole where family disposable income rose by £5.74 per week in June. This equates to an average spending power of £210 per week, marking an increase of 2.8% year-on-year.
Asda’s latest Income Tracker, which is Independently compiled for Asda by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also revealed that this is the seventh consecutive quarter of annual spending power falls for local families.
However, the figures also indicated the magnitude of these falls has narrowed in recent quarters, reflecting continued gross income growth and slowing inflation.
When compared to other UK regions, Northern Ireland’s poor performance during the cost-of-living crisis tends to be characterised by a greater concentration of spending on consumption categories that have seen high inflation recently. Northern Ireland is also impacted by lower employment rates and has a higher concentration of employment in low paid or low wage growth occupations than other parts of the UK.
Additionally, although gross income growth was above the UK-wide average in Q2, Northern Ireland remains particularly exposed to inflation.
In sharp contrast, many families living in London are faring better with rising living costs and have seen disposable incomes increase by 5.8% year-on-year to an average of £272 per week during Q2.
Sam Miley, Managing Economist, Cebr said:
"Northern Ireland remains the poorest performing region in the UK when it comes to discretionary income, in both absolute and year-on-year growth terms. However, the near-term outlook appears more positive, with subsiding inflation and continued wage growth set to support households. Alongside other areas of the UK, Northern Ireland is expected to see a return to annual growth in spending power from Q3 onwards.”
Asda continues to support all families across the UK and recently announced it was cutting the prices of more than 200 own-label lines by an average of 9%.
Kris Comerford, Asda’s Chief Commercial Officer added:
“We know that families are continuing to feel the pinch financially – especially during the summer holidays - and are looking for help to make their grocery budget stretch further. Whenever there is an opportunity to help them make their money go further by lowering prices we will continue to do so.”
The supermarket has also extended its hugely popular ‘Kids Eat for £1’ café meal offer for the rest of this year. Since launching this initiative last July, Asda has served 2 million meals from its cafes and invested £1.3m subsidising the offer to keep the meal prices at £1.
Asda also added a selection of half priced adult meals to the menu, giving a family of four the chance to have a meal in any Asda café for as little as £8.50 in total.
* The Asda Income Tracker is a measure of ‘discretionary income’, reflecting the amount remaining after the average UK household has had taxes subtracted from their income and bought essential items such as: groceries, electricity, gas, transport costs and mortgage interest payments or rent. The Income Tracker measures the amount left over to spend on discretionary purchases such as leisure and recreational goods and services.