DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX

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1 FOR SALE SOLD A B C D E F G H I DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q A commissioned report for Scottish Friendly

2 Executive summary The Scottish Friendly Disposable Income Index uses new survey data to provide a unique insight into the financial health of the UK population. Using detailed data on household incomes and expenditure as well as insights on public opinion on topical issues, we analyse how much cash households have left after buying the essentials needed to take part in modern society, and explore the implications for our financial wellbeing and security. The survey also assesses attitudes towards economic conditions such as inflation and how families are adjusting their budgets and supplementing their incomes. The Scottish Friendly Disposable Income Index shows that the median household in the UK has 1,368 left to spend each month after paying for the absolute essentials of housing, energy and water. After paying for a broader basket of goods including groceries, transport, childcare and broadband internet the goods required to play a full role in modern society the median household has 1,029 left each month to pay for other necessaries like clothing and furniture, saving and luxuries like holidays.i Around one in four of those aged (24%) and one in six of those aged (16%) spend more than their income on essentials (such as housing, energy and water). A much lower proportion of those aged (9%) and those aged over 65 (4%) are in the same position. 1,368 LEFT TO SPEND IN THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD With a backdrop of price increases, seven in ten (70%) households are worried about rising inflation and the impact it will have on their disposable income in the next twelve months. Around half (46%) of respondents have, or plan to, cut back on spending. Of those cutting back their spending, 53% need the extra money to cope with the increased cost of day to day living, 33% are using the extra money to set aside money into their bank or building society savings account, 15% put money away in an ISA; and 21% will use the money to pay down existing debts. 70% OF HOUSEHOLDS ARE WORRIED ABOUT RISING INFLATION AND THE IMPACT IT WILL HAVE ON THEIR DISPOSABLE INCOME Visit Scottish Friendly s Insight Hub where you can interact with our Disposable Income Index Tool by comparing finances from a comprehensive range of demographics. Visit: 2 DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

3 Households are taking or plan to take a wide range of steps to reduce their expenditure, including: purchasing cheaper groceries (67%); spending less on leisure activities and going out (57%); spending less on treats such as coffees (55%); and spending less on clothes (55%). Respondents are also looking to get better deals on their energy supply (36%) and going on cheaper holidays or not holidaying at all (36%). Many households are considering ways of bolstering their current income. One in five (22%) cite selling items on ebay or through other e-commerce sites; 17% report working longer hours; 14% taking on a second job; and 7% asking their current employer for a pay rise. Almost half of individuals (46%) are concerned about how leaving the EU will affect their family financially. A quarter of individuals (25%) are worried that leaving the EU might affect their job. This represents little change on previous quarters. 46% ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW LEAVING THE EU WILL AFFECT THEIR FAMILY FINANCIALLY FOR SALE SOLD DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

4 Introduction The Disposable Income Index for the first quarter, 2017, shows UK households bracing themselves to cope with rising costs and taking proactive steps to reduce expenditure and bring more money into the home. Although headline concerns about the economic and financial implications of the decision to leave the European Union have not worsened, households report buying cheaper groceries, spending less on going out and trying to supplement their incomes. The Disposable Income Index The Scottish Friendly Disposable Income Index uses new survey data to provide a unique insight into the financial health of the UK population. Using detailed data on household incomes and expenditure, we analyse how much cash households have left after buying the essentials needed to take part in modern society, and explore the implications for our financial wellbeing and security. The median household in the UK has 1,368 left to spend each month, after paying for somewhere to live.ii On average,iii 1,029 is left over once households have paid for other necessities needed to take part in modern life childcare, transport, groceries, mobile phones, television service, internet and telephone calls. This money needs to pay for everything else the family requires: clothes, furniture, going out, hobbies, holidays and savings. 4 DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

5 A recurrent feature of the Index is that median disposable income is much lower among younger age groups than older age groups. Our most recent data shows that income after housing costs is higher across all age groups, with a low of 996 for those aged and a peak of 1,831 for those aged 65 and over. The average amount spent on housing drops as age groups get older, likely as a consequence of smaller house sizes and of much higher levels of homeownership (including outright homeownership) among the older population. 17% OF YEAR OLDS SPEND MORE ON ESSENTIALS THAN THEY HAVE COMING IN. Factoring in a wider basket of essentials such as childcare, transport and groceries younger age groups are much more likely to find themselves spending more than they have coming in. Around one in four of those aged (24%) and one in six of those aged (17%) spend more than their income on essentials (such as housing, energy and water). A much lower proportion of those aged (9%) and those aged over 65 (4%) are in the same position. Those over the state retirement age are much less likely to cite concerns over debt (15%) compared to those aged 34 and under (54%). They are also much more confident about being able to cope with the costs associated with a big unexpected bill (for instance if the car broke down or the washing machine needed replacing): 59% of those aged 65 and over are not worried about how they would cope, compared with a fifth of those aged between 18 and 24 and 15% of those aged between 25 and 34. Income after housing Income after housing shows the amount of cash households have left after paying for housing and related costs council tax, water, energy bills, ground rent, service charges, buildings and contents insurance. This is similar to the government measure of income after housing used to measure official poverty lines. Figure 1: Proportion spending more than their income on housing and other essentials, by age Income after essentials 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Proportion spending more than income on housing costs Proportion spending more than income on essential costs This measure shows cash left over after households have purchased a basket of essentials considered necessary to participate in day-to-day life in modern society. It includes: childcare, transport (fuel or public transport fares), groceries, broadband internet, mobile phone tariffs and subscription television. DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

6 Less pessimistic outlook for the UK economy In October to December 2016, the employment rate reached a new peak of 74.6%, a 0.1 percentage point rise since the last quarter. Unemployment was 4.8%. Following strong performance in 2016, forecasters have become more optimistic about the short-term future state of the UK economy. The IMF now expects UK economic growth to hit 1.5% in 2017, falling slightly to 1.4% in Figure 2: UK unemployment rate Q Q Source: Office for National Statistics, Bank of England forecast. 10% 74.6% 8% 6% 4% 2016 EMPLOYMENT IN THE UK HIT NEW PEAK 2% 0% 2007 Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q1 The Bank of England is also more positive in February 2017 than it was in November 2016, slightly revising down estimates of unemployment to 4.9% this quarter and expecting it to remain at 5% throughout 2018 and early 2019 before falling back to 4.8% in the first quarter of DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

7 Sterling still down, prices up Continued increases in import prices contributed to CPI inflation rising to 1.8% in the year to January 2017, the highest level since June iv Growth in prices is expected to continue over the coming years. The Bank of England anticipates CPI inflation to increase to a peak of 2.8% in v Employees experienced moderate growth in average weekly earnings of 2.6% in the three months to December 2016 compared with the same period in vi Therefore, although inflation is rising, wage growth is higher. Figure 3: CPI inflation, January 2007 January 2017 Source: Office for National Statistics 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% -1% 2007 JAN 2008 JAN 2009 JAN 2010 JAN 2011 JAN 2012 JAN 2013 JAN 2014 JAN 2015 JAN 2016 JAN 2016 SEP DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

8 Savings In our survey, almost half of households save or invest on a regular basis; this is the same as the results from Q When we look at the age demographic of those who save or invest we can see there are slight differences across the groups. More than 60% of those aged save or invest on a regular basis, compared to only 44% for those who are within the next age group (35-44). This may be because the older age group is more likely to be saving through a mortgage, or because the pressures of child-rearing may squeeze out saving. The number of households saving is a positive finding. Questions remain about the vehicles that they use to do so as a large proportion rely on cash savings. Although it is important for households to have a stock of liquid cash savings, interest rates are typically lower than current inflation levels. As the graph indicates, there are other options for savers to complement their cash accounts, including stocks and shares ISAs. With inflation set to rise in 2018 this dilemma is likely to continue, and provides the context for the introduction of the Government s Lifetime ISA in spring 2017 aimed at young savers. Figure 4: In general, does your household tend to regularly save and/or invest each month? Yes No Figure 5: Proportion of respondents who regularly save/invest each month by age 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0% DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

9 Figure 6: Which of the following saving product(s) do you save or invest into each month? 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0% Pension Stocks and shares ISA Cash ISA Bank or building society savings account Current account Junior ISA/ Child trust fund Fixed rate bond Shares/ unit/ trusts/ investment trust Other Anxieties ahead Around 1 in 6 households feel that they have more money left over after paying for essentials than they did 12 months ago. The remaining households do not feel like their financial situation is improving. After paying for essentials 39% believe that they are worse off than 12 months ago, whilst 43% believe that there has not been any significant change. Figure 7: Compared to 12 months ago, do you feel you have more or less money left at the end of the month after paying for essentials like housing, bills, childcare and food? 43% 18% 39% We have more cash left over at the end of the month than this time last year We have less cash left over at the end of the month than this time last year Things are about the same as they were this time last year Only a minority of households imagine that their financial position will improve over the next 12 months. 35% of individuals think that they will be financially better off in 12 months time, which is equal to the results from Q It is slightly lower than 12 months ago when 41% of individuals thought they would be better off. DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

10 Making ends meet As noted, the official figures show UK inflation is yet to reach its peak. Our polling reveals real concern about future inflation levels and the cost of living. Seven in ten (70%) households are worried about rising inflation and the impact it will have on their disposable income in the next twelve months, with 19% reporting themselves very worried and 51% slightly worried. Only one in five (22%) report being not worried at all, whilst 8% replied don t know. Londoners (77%) are more likely to report being worried compared to non-londoners (70%), though it is unclear why this pattern emerges. Figure 8: How worried are you about rising UK inflation and the impact that will have on your own disposable income in the next 12 months? 8% 19% Very worried 22% Slightly worried Not worried at all 51% Don t know Figure 9: Have you, or are you planning to, cut back on your spending? Proportion answering Yes 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

11 Given this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that many households are looking to reduce their expenditure: 46% of respondents have, or plan to, cut back on spending. This is particularly the case amongst younger age groups with only around a third of respondents aged 65-plus (32%) cutting back compared to almost two-thirds of 18 to 24 year olds (63%). It is interesting to note also that this response is common across higher socio-economic groups (ABC1 50%) and lower socio-economic groups (C2DE 43%). Of those cutting back their expenditure, a majority (53%) need the extra money to cope with the increased cost of day-to-day living. Meanwhile, a third (33%) cite using the extra money to set aside money into their bank or building society savings account and 15% say they are putting money away in an ISA. One in five (21%) use the money to pay down existing debts. 70% OF HOUSEHOLDS ARE WORRIED ABOUT RISING INFLATION AND THE IMPACT IT WILL HAVE ON THEM Figure 10: If you are cutting back on your spending, what do you intend to do with the additional money? 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0% I need the additional money to meetthe increased cost of day today living I will try to save more of the additional money into my bank or building society savings account I will try to save more of the additional money into my cash ISA I will try to save more of the additional money into my stocks and shares ISA I will try to save more of the additional money into my pension I will use the additional money to pay down my debts Don t know A B C D E F G H I DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

12 Households are taking or plan to take a wide range of steps to reduce their expenditure. In the main these revolve around paring back spending on everyday outgoings, rather than, for instance, focusing on putting off or avoiding big purchases. Two thirds (67%) report that they are or plan to purchase cheaper groceries. More than half of households cite spending less on leisure activities, cutting back on treats and spending less on clothes. Respondents are also looking to get better deals on their energy supply (36%) or going on cheaper holidays or not holidaying at all (36%). Some of these steps speak to the broad strategy of the Theresa May Government to help those just managing families by helping them get a good deal in consumer markets. Figure 11: If you have, or are planning to cut back on your spending, in what areas are you doing this or planning to do this? 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Purchasing cheaper groceries Spending less on going out and leisure activities Cancelling or reducing my spending on sports and gym membership Spending less on clothes Putting off making Seeking better gas/ home improvements electricity/ or buying big items broadband deals for the house Spending less on treats (coffee, lunches, confectionery etc) Cutting back/ cancelling subscription tv Putting off buying large one-off items such as a car Not going on holiday or going on cheaper holidays Other please specify As well as cutting back on their spending, many households are considering ways of bolstering their current income. One in five (22%) cite selling items on ebay or through other e-commerce sites; 17% report working longer hours; 14% taking on a second job; and 7% asking their current employer for a pay rise. Three in ten of our respondents also reported bringing in additional income through market research though this is likely to reflect our public poll methodology. 12 DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

13 Unchanging views on the EU Despite registering concerns about the costs of living, as described above, perceptions about the EU remain unchanged for the third quarter in a row. Almost half of individuals (46%) are concerned about how leaving the EU will affect their family financially. A quarter of individuals (25%) are worried that leaving the EU might affect their job. With the Government set to trigger Article 50 at the end of March 2017, it will be interesting to see whether these levels of concern worsen or lessen in the quarters ahead. Conclusions This edition of the Disposable Income Index reveals the mix of measures being adopted by UK households to manage their budgets. With inflation forecast to grow through 2017 into 2018, households are concerned about the prospects of rising prices. Many are taking proactive steps to reduce their outgoings, especially reducing the ongoing costs of day-to-day expenses. Some are also looking to bolster their incomes whether by taking second jobs or selling items on ebay. It is notable also that many are using any money they save to pay down debts or build up savings. DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

14 Methodology The Scottish Friendly Disposable Income Index is based on a quarterly online nationally-representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, carried out by 3Gem. Survey data was collected between 17th and 25th February Within the survey, respondents are asked for details of four components of income: Post-tax income from work Income from benefits or tax credits Income from investments Income from private or occupational pensions. In each case, respondents are asked for monthly data as this is the basis on which most income will be paid. Where reasonable, they are prompted to think of sources of this information, for example pay slips. These data are aggregated to provide an accurate picture of income at a household level. Asking questions about specific components of income allows us to build a more complete picture. Respondents are then asked about essential bills, including: Housing costs: rent or mortgage costs Council tax Water Gas, electricity, solid fuel (including a dual fuel option) Buildings & contents insurance Ground rent and service charges. We ask both how often bills are paid, and how much they are, allowing respondents to provide information in the form that is most familiar to them and removing as far as possible the need for bills to be estimated. The data is then cleaned to provide a monthly estimate of total essential costs for each household. We also consider a set of costs which are not absolutely essential for human life, but are nonetheless necessary to play a full and active role in modern society, including: Groceries Broadband or other internet services, telephone calls and television subscriptions Mobile phone bills Childcare Transport (petrol, public transport fares). These costs are subtracted from reported income at each household, to create an estimate of disposable and discretionary income here defined as income after housing costs, and after a basket of essentials needed to participate fully in modern society are purchased. Data is not equivalised for household size, but we do check median household size across sub-groups to ensure any significant differences are flagged to the reader. i ii We report the disposable income findings from our survey on a quarterly basis. We do not draw conclusions here about variation over time due to challenges associated with sample size which mean that in many cases we may not be confident that the change is statistically significant from zero. Housing includes mortgage or rent costs, council tax, ground rent, service charges, building and contents insurance, energy and water bills. iii Average throughout this report refers to the median. We use the median to avoid results distorted by extreme values, particularly given the self-reported nature of our survey data. iv ONS, UK consumer price inflation: Jan 2017 Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation (2017). v Bank of England, Inflation Report, February2017 (2017). vi ONS, Analysis of real earnings: October 2016 Analyses of the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) figures (2016). 14 DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q1 2017

15 Proportion Proportion Income after Income after spending more spending more housing costs essentials than income on than income on housing costs essential costs REGION Scotland 1, , % 12.90% Northern Ireland 1, , % 20.00% Wales 1, , % 8.14% South West 1, % 14.29% West Midlands 1, , % 15.17% North West 1, , % 9.80% North East 1, % 6.98% Yorkshire 1, % 12.36% East Midlands 1, , % 10.46% East England 1, % 9.77% South East 1, % 14.58% London 1, , % 15.88% AGE GROUP % 23.75% , % 17.45% , % 14.62% , % 10.63% , , % 8.98% 65+ 1, , % 3.90% EMPLOYMENT STATUS Employed full-time 1, , % 12.69% Employed part-time 1, % 13.95% Self-employed 1, % 11.11% Unemployed 1, % 16.46% Student % 30.91% Retired 1, , % 4.01% UK MEDIAN 1, , % 12.6% DISPOSABLE INCOME INDEX Q

16 Visit Scottish Friendly s Insight Hub where you can interact with our Disposable Income Index Tool by comparing finances from a comprehensive range of demographics. Visit: Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited Head Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ Telephone: Web: Social In association with Social Market Foundation. The Social Market Foundation is a non-partisan think tank. It believes that fair markets, complemented by open public services, increase prosperity and help people to live well.

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