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  • Writer's pictureTanya Fowles (Local Democracy Reporter)

NI lowest-earning households left with under £20 per week after bills and living costs

Northern Ireland’s lowest-earning households have seen their discretionary income decrease by 46.7 per cent compared to last year (from £37.11 to £19.78), meaning they have less than £20 per week to spend after bills and living expenses.

These figures come from the Consumer Council’s latest Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker, which is published on a quarterly basis and tracks the changes to income and expenditure for the lowest-earning households here.

The Consumer Council’s Household Expenditure Tracker reveals that in Q3, 2022 (July, August and September), Northern Ireland’s lowest-earning households:

  • Saw their weekly income after tax rise by only £1.66 (0.7 per cent)

  • Experienced weekly spending on basic goods increase by £4.14

  • 54 per cent of their total basic spending went on rent, energy, food and transport

  • Saw their discretionary income fall for the sixth consecutive quarter, leaving these households with less than £20 per week to live on (£19.78)

Noyona Chundur, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said:

“The Consumer Council first published its Household Expenditure Tracker last year, and with each publication, we have seen a decline in discretionary income for Northern Ireland’s lowest-earning households.

“The statistics within the Household Expenditure Tracker quantify what we already know and are seeing on a daily basis: that consumers are significantly struggling at the moment.

“The Household Expenditure Tracker shows that despite an increase of basic spending across all four income quartiles, it was only those in income quartiles 1 and 2 that experienced a further decrease in discretionary income.

“For those who are struggling to pay their bills, the Consumer Council offers a variety of help, support and advice to help consumers understand ways to save money, shop around, and what options are available.”

Consumers can visit to view a range of interactive tools including an energy price comparison tool, petrol and diesel price comparison tool, and a home heating oil tracker, and resources including its Cost-of-Living Hub.


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