Disposable income still falling despite upsurge in employment

Latest CSO figures show disposable income of households fell by €1.1 billion in first quarter

The figures indicated gross household saving decreased by €982 million to €2.6 billion during the same period. Photographer: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg

The figures indicated gross household saving decreased by €982 million to €2.6 billion during the same period. Photographer: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 15:14

The disposable income of Irish households is still falling despite more people being at work.

According to new data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), gross disposable income of Irish households was €22.2 billion in the first quarter of this year.

This represented a fall of €1.1 billion or 4.8 per cent on the previous quarter.

The figures suggest the increase in dispoable income from more people being at work is being offset by the downward pressure on income from new taxes and charges associated with the Government’s long-standing austerity drive.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has vowed to do something for hard-pressed middle-income households in the Budget.

Most indications suggest he is likely to widen the tax bands to take more people out of the higher tax bracket.

The CSO figures also show that during the same time there was also a decrease in quarterly household expenditure, which dropped €138 million to €19.6 billion.

This may go some way to explaining the weak level of consumer spending in the economy which has yet to recover from financial turmoil of recent years.

The figures indicated gross household saving decreased by €982 million to €2.6 billion during the same period.

On an annual basis, however, gross saving for the total economy increased by €396 million to €8.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014.

According to the CSO, this is explained by a decrease in the gross saving of non-financial corporations, which fell 1.06 billion, being offset by increases in the saving of households (+€277 million), Government (+€897 million) and the financial sector (+€296 million).

The saving deficit of Government totalled €1.7 billion in the first quarter, an improvement of €897 million on the same period last year. This was down to increased taxes on production and social contributions.