SOUTHEND has seen an above average increase in disposable household income according to new figures.
Households have over £2,000 more to spend than in 2007 – the tenth biggest increase in the country – according to a league table compiled by accountants UHY Hacker Young.
The list, put together using data from the Office of National Statistics, shows that after bills and taxes, the average Southend household has an annual disposable income of £16,347.
John Lamb, deputy leader of Southend Council, said it was good news for the town.
He said: “It shows that our economy has held up, and that while people have suffered some austerity measures, things are improving.
“It will help the economy as well when people spend that income in the town’s shops, for whatever their needs are.”
Aberdeen has seen the largest increase in spending money with an average household in the city having nearly £18,000 to spend a year.
A drop in mortgage costs due to record low interest rates is largely responsible for the national increase in spare cash, despite wages lagging behind inflation for years.
Mr Lamb added: “We have played our part in the improvement, keeping council tax low while other outgoings have increased quite considerably.
“We still have areas of depravation, but we are trying to help wherever we can.”
However, conflicting research by financial services provider Scottish Friendly claims that, with the costs of renting and energy bills increasing, workers are left with just £148 a month after bills.
Trish Carpenter, manager at Southend Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “If the economy is picking up that is great and will give people more capacity to cope with debt, but it is not an instant win for people we see.
“If recruitment increases and there are more jobs around, then that would help.”