Nearly half of the UK’s population is worried about money despite the economic recovery and a “sizeable minority” spend beyond their means every month, a report has found.
Some 47.5 per cent of people surveyed for a report by Isa provider Scottish Friendly and think-tank the Social Market Foundation said they are worried about money.
But people in Yorkshire seem to be doing a good job in watching their pennies, with the average household in the region having more money left over after paying out for housing and other essentials than anywhere else in the country.
Yorkshire households had an average of £1,334 left each month after housing costs were taken out and £1,017 after costs such as childcare, transport, groceries and broadband were taken into account. The average amount of disposable income for the UK, after housing and essentials were taken out, was £905, and as low as £765 in Northern Ireland.
Lower levels of spending on essentials such as travel, broadband and childcare are thought to be behind the high levels of disposable income in the region.
Despite this, the report said 6.3 per cent of people in Yorkshire were spending more than their income on housing costs alone and 12.5 per cent exceeding their income with essential costs. It said young people and the self-employed were particularly likely to be tipped into the red.
Nationwide, 50.3 per cent of people across the survey worried about how they would cope with a big, unexpected bill, compared with 47.5 per cent in Yorkshire.
While four in 10 people surveyed expect to be financially better off in 12 months’ time, 24 per cent think they will be worse off, and the remaining 35 per cent are unsure whether their financial situation will improve or not.
Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said: “Headline economic data suggests that the financial situation of Yorkshire and UK households should be improving. Subdued inflation, high employment and gradual increases in wages theoretically help consumers feel better off.
“However, any of these benefits seem to be offset by the rising cost of living. These day-to-day financial pressures are leaving people worried about their disposable income and a sizeable minority actually find themselves spending beyond their means every month and falling into debt.
“Consequently less than half the population are saving regularly. This kind of financial fragility should be a concern for policy-makers and businesses in Yorkshire and the country at large.”
Separately, a report released today suggested that the steep increases in childcare costs of the past are slowing down, with average prices rising roughly in line with inflation this year.
The Family and Childcare Trust study said that average costs of nursery and childminders in Yorkshire were the lowest in Britain and around £20 a week cheaper than the average for the rest of the country.
It warned of a big rise in the number of local authorities reporting a lack of free early education places for three and four-year-olds - from 23 in 2015 to 59 in 2016. The councils with shortages included Leeds and York.
It said families typically spend around a quarter of their household income on childcare. Weekly care for two children often costs more than a family’s weekly shopping.