Family spending power edges up £2 a week in December: new figures
The supermarket found that the average UK family had £158 of discretionary income available to it in December, marking the third consecutive month of annual spending power growth.
Slowing consumer price inflation, which fell to 2% in December, helped to hold down the price of essential items in the run-up to Christmas. Family finances were also boosted by a sharp reduction in the unemployment rate which fell to7.1% - its lowest level since 2009.
Asda said it found a positive picture across much of the UK with all but two regions seeing an increase in spending power year-on-year. The East Midlands saw the fastest growth of anywhere in the UK year-on-year, with spending power up 3.6%. Wales, the East, South East and Scotland also saw significant increases. Only families in the South West and North East recorded a fall in spending power over the last quarter, down £5 and £2 a week respectively.
Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke said: "Average family spending power has continued to improve for the third consecutive month according to our Income Tracker. I take this as a positive sign that a macro economic recovery is underway although, as a note of caution, the effects have yet to be felt in real terms by all families across the UK.
“Some regions are beginning to see the benefits of a stronger jobs market coupled with lower inflation. But there are still pockets of the country where this hasn’t filtered through. We’re on the right track with slow but steady economic stabilisation, however until everyone feels this equally we’re not out of the woods.”
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