Relief for families as incomes stop sliding
THE disposable income of households has stopped falling for the first time in two years.
New figures show the income going into homes has stabilised, with fewer people struggling to make ends meet.
It is the first time since April 2011 that disposable income has shown signs that it has ceased coming down, according to new research commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Families have seen their finances squeezed continually since the end of 2008 with six austerity budgets that have hiked taxes and cut back on benefits.
But the latest 'What's Left Tracker' also shows:
* Almost four in 10 people can now save some money.
* The numbers who say they only have €50 or less at the end of the month after paying essential bills has fallen by 300,000.
* And disposal income has either risen or stayed the same for a third of consumers.
The average monthly income for a family is €2,710, after income taxes and other state deductions from wages.
Monthly outgoings average €2,571 for a family, according to the survey of 1,000 adults conducted for the league by iReach market research.
But despite the improvement in household finances, thousands of people continue to struggle to pay bills.
Almost four in 10 people say they are unable to pay all of their bills on time, according to the research. And one in five homeowners say that they are unlikely to have the money to pay the property tax when it comes due in July.
The findings also show that 1.7 million people have just €100 or less in disposable income left every month once they have paid essential bills like food, mortgages and electricity.
Chief executive of the Irish League of Credit Unions Kieron Brennan said the signs that household income had stopped falling were the first positive indicator to be detected since the survey started in 2011.
"It is encouraging to see what possibly might be the first signs of stability in 2013. Disposable income has begun to stabilise and we are seeing an increase in the numbers of people who are able to save something, even a small amount, at the end of each month."
Mr Brennan said that this did not take away from the fact that people all over the country are still struggling on a daily basis. The survey shows that the average household is spending €878 on mortgage repayments.