Briton household disposable incomes fell in every UK region during Q4 2022, compared with the same period a year earlier, showing that no areas of the country are immune from the cost of living crisis, revealed the latest figures from Asda’s Income Tracker.
Across the UK as a whole, the amount households had to spend on themselves, after paying taxes and essential bills, fell by 11.4 per cent during the fourth quarter to an average of £209 per week, compared to £236 per week in Q4 2021.
The decline in disposable incomes is the result of a sharp increase in household bills, particularly gas, electricity, fuel and food, compared to the previous year.
Households in the South East saw the biggest fall in disposable income – down by £44 per week (24 per cent year-on-year) – from a weekly average of £230 in Q4 2021 to £186 in Q4 2022.
Families in Wales and Northern Ireland also experienced a significant decline in disposable income. Northern Ireland saw the largest fall in percentage terms, with disposable incomes declining by 27.6 per cent year-on-year to an average of £93 per week in Q4, a figure which represents a seven-year low.
In Wales household disposable incomes were 15.9 per cent down in Q4 compared to a year earlier, averaging £170 per week – the lowest amount since 2017.
“Asda continues to support customers during the cost of living crisis by keeping prices in check and helping budgets stretch further as seen through a recent Which? report showing Asda was the cheapest supermarket for the big family shop in 2022,” the supermarket said in a press release.
The inflation rate for food and drink in the UK reached 16.8 percent in December 2022, the fastest that prices have been rising in this sector during the provided time period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Food inflation averaged 2.62 percent from 1989 until 2022.
Basics such as milk, cheese and eggs saw the largest increases. Prices for sugar, jam, honey and chocolate as well as soft drinks and juices also jumped. However, price growth slowed for bread and cereals.