- The average UK household had £158 a week of discretionary income in December 2013, up £2 a week year-on-year, but below the £165 all-time high seen in January 2010
- This is the third consecutive month of slow but steady annual growth, suggesting a return to more stable conditions for household finances
- Falling unemployment and slowing inflation rate – driven predominantly by downward pressure in food prices – helped boost family finances in December
- The year-on-year increase in the Income Tracker was felt in all but two regions across the UK
- But stagnating wage growth continues to hold back further improvements
The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that family spending power increased by £2 a week year-on-year in December driven by a sharp downward trend in inflation and a fall in unemployment to 7.1 per cent, the lowest rate in four and a half years.
According to the latest figures, released today (Saturday 25th January), the average UK family had £158 of discretionary income available to them in December 2013, marking the third consecutive month of annual spending power growth. However, this figure of £158 still stands well below the £165 all-time high observed in January 2010.
Slowing consumer price inflation, which fell to 2 per cent – its lowest rate since November 2009 – helped to hold down the price of essential items in the run up to Christmas, providing a much-needed boost to family finances. A fall in food price growth in December (1.9 per cent) to less than half of what was seen throughout much of the rest of 2013 was a key driver, while downward pressure in petrol and diesel prices (1.4 percent lower in December 2013 than in December 2012), helped families further by easing transport costs. However, as the impact of announced price hikes at the utility firms began to take hold – with the cost of electricity and gas up 8.1 and 7.8 percent respectively – some of these gains were offset.
Further helping to ease the pressure on household finances was a sharp reduction in the unemployment rate, which fell to its lowest level (7.1 per cent) since February 2009. However despite the increase in the number of people employed in work, weak wage growth (0.9 per cent) below the rate of inflation, hampered the Income Tracker from increasing further in December.
For more information, please visit Asda’s website.