Disposable income falls for the first time in 30 years

Caroline Cassidy

Households across the country are struggling thanks to soaring household bills and official figures released yesterday revealed that disposable income has fallen for the first time in 30 years.

Take-home pay falls
Take-home pay falls

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It was1981 when statisticians last registered a decrease in take-home pay but research by Office for National Statistics found that last year the average household's disposable income dropped by 0.8 per cent compared to 2009.

Furthermore, experts are warning that the worst is yet to come and expect a further 0.4 per cent fall this year - the first "double dip" since the mid-1970s.

Next month National Insurance is set to rise, VAT is already up to 20 per cent and more workers are now paying the higher 40 per cent tax rate.

With the majority experiencing either a pay freeze or a paltry pay rise and the cost of living growing by the day, 2011 is looking bleak.

According to debt advisers The Consumer Credit Counselling Service, millions of Britons are simply not earning enough to pay the bills, let alone afford any of life's little luxuries.

A spokesman told the Daily Mail: "It is all the little pressures that are adding up to hurt households and erode their income. This is not necessarily about people who are unemployed. Even if you didn't lose your job last year, people are still really struggling."

A survey by the Bank of England earlier this month revealed that one in four cash-strapped adults are prepared to take on a second job, work more overtime or look for new employment in a bid to keep their heads above water.

What do you think? Are you struggling financially and have you taken any steps to help weather the storm? Leave a comment below...