Campaigns Community Consumer Council NI Cost of Living Government Politics Stormont Westminster

Discretionary Income for the Lowest Earning Households in Northern Ireland Drops by 46% in a Year

Northern Ireland’s lowest earning households have seen their discretionary income decrease by 46.1% compared to last year (from £45.32 to £24.41), meaning they have less than £25 per week to spend after bills and living expenses.

These figures come from the Consumer Council’s latest Northern Ireland Household Expenditure Tracker, which is published on a quarterly basis and tracks the changes to income and expenditure for the lowest earning households here.

The Consumer Council’s Household Expenditure Tracker reveals that in Q2 2022 (April, May and June), Northern Ireland’s lowest earning households:

  • saw their weekly income after tax rise by £2.80 (1.2%);
  • experienced weekly spending on basic goods increase by £7.25 (3.6%);
  • spent 53% of their total basic spending on rent, energy, food and transport; and
  • saw their discretionary income fall for the 5th consecutive quarter leaving these households with less than £25 per week to live on (£24.41).

Noyona Chundur, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said: “Our Household Expenditure Tracker quantifies the reality that our lowest earning households are currently facing. The lowest earning households in Northern Ireland now have less than £25 to spend per week after their bills and living costs. In releasing this data, we hope that it will help Government, policy makers, and organisations to develop targeted solutions and interventions to help all consumers in Northern Ireland.

“The Consumer Council offers a variety of help, support and advice to help consumers understand ways to save money and shop around, and what options are available if they are struggling to pay their bills.”

Consumers can visit to view a range of interactive tools including an Energy Price Comparison Tool, Petrol and Diesel price comparison tool and Home Heating Oil Tracker, and resources including its Cost-of-Living Hub. Consumers can also get in touch with the Consumer Council for free independent advice by calling Freephone 0800 121 6022 or emailing


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