Northern Ireland Discretionary Income to fall by 20%

Sterling notes

Discretionary income is the income that households have left over after taxes and spending on essential household necessities like accommodation, food and fuel. The report therefore captures the falling income in Northern Ireland and the rising cost of living. In Particular over the last five years the cost of essentials rose by 16.6% while gross incomes only grew by 12.0% leaving working people in Northern Ireland far worse off.

Over the next five years the report finds that continuing austerity and wage contraction in the public sector will reduce the spending power of incomes at the same time that cost of living increases grow rapidly. In contrast to Northern Ireland London has seen its discretionary income grow 10% over the last five years and will grow by a further 3.3% over the next five.

These figures confirm the erosion of living standards in Northern Ireland since the financial crisis, but more worryingly they paint a bleak future for the Northern Ireland economy in the near future.

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Paul Mac Flynn


Paul Mac Flynn is co-director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute and is based in the Belfast office. In addition to managing the Belfast office he has co-responsibility for the NERI's research programme and for its strategic direction.  

He leads on the NERI’s analysis of the Northern Ireland economy along with all research into the impact of the United Kingdom‘s departure from the European Union. Other research areas include regional productivity, the all-island economy and the future of work.

He is a graduate of University College Dublin with a BA in Economics and Politics and the University of Bristol with an MSc in Economics and Public Policy, specialising in the economic impacts of political devolution in the UK.

Contact: [email protected] or 00 44 28 9024 6214.