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Families in Wales hit hard as disposable income is squeezed by cost-of-living crisis

27 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Photo Julien Behal PA Images

Families in Wales are being hit hard by the squeeze on household disposable incomes due to the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new analysis.

The latest figures from supermarket giant Asda’s Income Tracker show that disposable income fell by 3.7% on the year in the second quarter of 2023.

This is equivalent to a shortfall of £6 per week or £27 across the month.

Wales was amongst the worst performers in terms of spending power growth in the quarter, with only Northern Ireland and the South West of England seeing bigger percentage falls in discretionary income, at 4.0% each.

Wales’ weak performance is put down to poor gross income growth. Although gross incomes in Wales picked up at an historically elevated annual rate of 5.5% in Q2, this was the weakest improvement of any region.

The report suggests that in Wales and Scotland the composition of the labour market is likely to be dragging on gross income growth, with the public sector accounting for a larger share of jobs.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland are predicted to return to annual improvement in spending power in the next quarter of the year when inflation is projected to slow.

Low-earning families

The decrease in disposable income mapped by the index has been particularly evident for low-earning families, with 40% 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, and the English 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.

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% year-on-year to an average of £272 per week during Q2. A key factor behind this rise is the strong labour market and concentration of high paying jobs in the capital.

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8 months ago

Nothing new here. All these articles about “inflation” just underlines the basic fact that people, especially those on low incomes, are taking a big hit. Most sickening are those articles that rejoice at rate of inflation falling slightly. Big deal, it needs to crash, especially the prices of foods, domestic energy and other essentials. Yet no significant efforts have been made to drive costs back down. Politicians and big businesses are having a laff at our expense.

8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The retailers were quick to mark up their prices but even if inflation crashed I doubt if shopkeepers will be just as keen to lower prices. Somehow I don’t think so as they have got used to overcharging and profiteering on a grand scale. Maybe a penny off here and there just to show they are doing their bit to help but not on the scale they increased prices. Greedy people.

8 months ago

What can one expect when retailers are taking advantage of a very grim world-wide situation. What with the war between Russia and the Ukraine and energy prices these shopkeepers have seen an opportunity to profit without any government intervention. This morning’s news covers a claim by the Co-op that shoplifting is at the highest level ever. Well, what do they expect? They are robbing the customers blind so the customers have decided to rob them back!! These shops soon make a big fuss about shoplifting and go running to the police. Perhaps the customer should run to the police to… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
8 months ago

Very sad for many in Wales. It always surprises me that Westminster can find £billions to fund wars, can write off approx £38billion a year in tax dodging and can even find some £600million to spend on Turkeys rail system but there is never enough to provide all people in Wales with a decent income and working infrastructure. So corrupt that £5billion of our money is being spent by Westminster on their HS2 rail that has zero benefit for Wales. We are being robbed right left and centre. A failure of Westminster and a failure of Welsh politicians for not… Read more »

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