The research by Asda found discretionary income for families in the south east reached £208 a week, up £18 compared to the same time last year.
This is now above the UK national average of discretionary income, which reached £194 a week in December, up £13 compared to the same time last year.
However, in spite of the welcome boost to wallets in South East of England, this 7.2 per cent year-on-year growth in national spending power marked the lowest percentage increase since October 2014. This was due to the recent slowdown in wage growth and a slight increase in inflation.
Andy Clarke, president and CEO of Asda, said, “Throughout 2015 falls in commodity prices and a strengthening pound contributed to higher discretionary income in households across the UK.
“We’ve also passed a milestone for the British economy, with inflation remaining at zero for a full calendar year for the first time since records began.
“Despite these positive economic indicators, spending patterns remain erratic. Although falling vehicle fuel costs are putting extra pounds in consumers’ pockets, this doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in household spending”
The south east was one of only three regions – along with the east of England and north west, which saw household spending power grow closer to those in London
Sam Alderson, Economist, Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), said, “Against a backdrop of global economic turbulence, households across the UK continued to see spending power head higher, supported by another month of negative essential item inflation.
“Global growth concerns have already sent oil prices lower and are likely to hold interest rates lower for longer. While this should help provide further boosts to spending power in 2016, the uncertainty means that families can be forgiven for exercising some caution in terms of spending any additional spare cash.”
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