UK families had £1 more to spend per week in November 2012 than in the same month last year, but family spending power still did not match that of 2010, new figures have revealed.
According to the latest Asda Income Tracker, families had an average disposable income of £146 per week in November this year, £1 per week higher than last year’s figures.
This is the sixth consecutive month in which real discretionary incomes have risen, but this positive development follows 19 months of falling incomes.
As a result, UK families have an average of £12 less disposable income per week when compared to 2010, meaning that budgets remain tight this festive season.
Commenting on the impact of these figures on families, Asda president and CEO Andy Clarke said: “2012 has been a mixed economic picture for families, with improvements in disposable income seen during the summer months almost wiped out by the rise in commodities and little or no income growth.”
Mr Clarke referenced the Mumdex report, which recently showed that only one in 10 mums have been given a boost in optimism about the economy by the news that the UK is coming out of recession.
Noting that two thirds of families believe that the economy will worsen in 2013, he added: “However it’s clear that mums are determined to make this Christmas the most magical ever, re-balancing their budgets to protect the things that will make the big day extra special – presents for kids and Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.”
Persistently high inflation has kept increases in disposable income low this year, with a 3.9 per cent increase in the price of food being the latest contributor to high living costs.
Increases in utility tariffs also pushed up the cost of living in November, and further utility price increases are expected in December and January.
Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) economist Rob Harbron predicted a gloomy outlook for 2013, commenting: “Price inflation on essential items is likely to be elevated in 2013 while weak economic conditions will hold back wage increases.
“Robust growth in family spending power is expected to remain elusive.”