Cost Of Living Impacting Some More Than Others In The UK


The latest figures from Asda’s Income Tracker show the squeeze on household disposable incomes is much worse for families living in certain parts of the UK than others, with households in Northern Ireland living on an average weekly disposable income of just £95.

The decrease in disposable income has been particularly evident for low-earning families, with 40 percent of UK households in negative income territory last month, meaning their take-home pay did not cover spending on bills and essentials.

Families in Northern Ireland, the North East and West Midlands struggled the most during Q2, with average weekly disposable incomes of £95, £133 and £163, respectively, well below the UK average of £208 across the quarter to 30 June.

In addition to these regions, other areas of the UK that also saw a decline in disposable income during the second quarter were the South East (excluding London), East of England and Wales.

Those regions faring worse than others during the cost-of-living crisis tend to be characterised by a greater concentration of spending on consumption categories that have seen high inflation recently. They also have lower employment rates or a higher concentration of employment in low-paid or low-wage growth occupations than other parts of the UK.

In contrast, many families living in London are faring better with rising living costs and have seen disposable incomes rise by 5.8 percent year-on-year to an average of £272 per week during the second quarter. A key factor behind this rise is the strong labour market and the concentration of high-paying jobs in the capital.

While family disposable income as a whole across the UK rose by £5.74 a week in June to an average of £210 per week, a 2.8 percent increase compared to the same period last year, rising living costs continue to outstrip wage growth for the majority of households outside of the capital.

Asda continues to support families across the UK and last week announced it was cutting the prices of more than 200 own-label lines by an average of nine percent. The products include fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meat and fish, cupboard staples and popular ready meal.

Kris Comerford, Asda’s Chief Commercial Officer, said that it knows that families are continuing to feel the pinch financially, especially headed into the UK summer holidays, and are looking for help to stretch their grocery budget.

“Whenever there is an opportunity to help them make their money go further by lowering prices, we will continue to do so,” said Comerford.

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 recently added a selection of half-priced adult meals to the menu, giving a family of four a chance to enjoy a meal in any Asda café for as little as £8.50 in total.