RBS Chief Economist Weekly Brief

Disposable income across the UK. Each of us had an average of £16,034 per year to spend or save in 2011, or £308 a week. That’s after we’ve paid our taxes and received our benefits, but before we’ve spent money on bills, done the shopping or filled the car. But this national average masks huge variations depending on where you happen to live. London has the highest income per person, at £20,509 a year, whilst the North East has the lowest, with £13,560. But incomes vary within regions too, with most disparity in the richer areas. Surrey in the South East has an average income per person of over £22,000. Yet head down to the coast at Portsmouth and income falls to £12,300. Variation between local areas can dwarf that between regions; so beware the usual generalisations. Of course, what really matters is what people can buy with their income and the cost of living varies hugely, too: in 2012, the average house in London cost £410,000 compared with £153,000 in the North East.