Scottish households tighten belts as rest of UK spends more

Spending on holidays took a big hit
Spending on holidays took a big hit
Share this article
Have your say

SQUEEZED families in Scotland tightened their belts to prune £7 from their weekly spending in 2011 compared with the year before – as households across the rest of the UK spent even more, according to official statistics.

Households north of the Border are cutting back on holiday spending, new cars, televisions and furniture to spend an average of £440.60 a week, down from £447.20 the previous year.

Over 12 months, it means families spent £22,911, compared with £23,254, a reduction of some £343.

The downfall in expenditure, to a figure significantly less than the UK average of £483.60, comes despite escalating household fuel, food and petrol costs, with families paring back their outgoings elsewhere.

The annual family spending survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that Scots households are eschewing the likes of new car purchases and recreational activities in order to balance their books at a time when the cost of living is on the rise.

The data comes as families 
are set to face further pressure from rising fuel bills this winter, after a string of energy companies announced price hikes.

Households spent £10.40 every seven days to meet their gas bills, up from £9.40 the 
previous year, while the cost of electricity jumped from £10.40 to £10.80 a week.

Petrol costs also went up by 30p to £19.50 over the 
12-month period, and the average weekly spend on food 
and non-alcoholic drinks increased by 70p to £51.60, with expenditure on alcohol and tobacco rising from £12.50 to £13.20, the highest of any UK region apart from Northern Ireland at £16.50. Those renting properties were also forced to endure heftier outlays, up from £27.40 to £30.10.

By contrast, families looked to avoid big purchases, spending just £5.70 every seven days towards new cars or vans, compared with £7.40 the year before.

The average household outlay on second-hand vehicles also slumped from £15 to £13.70.

Holiday spending witnessed a downturn from £7.20 to £6.30, while outlay on televisions, DVDs and music systems dropped from £6.70 to £5.60. Furniture and furnishings accounted for £12.20 expenditure every week, compared with 20p more the year before.

The fall in spending in Scotland is in stark contrast to the UK picture, with spending rising by £10 compared with 2010, resulting in the highest average expenditure ever recorded by the ONS.

Across the nation, transport costs took up the biggest chunk of spending, at £65.70 per week, with households spending about three-and-a-half times more on petrol-related costs than on fruit and vegetables.

Giles Horsfield, editor of the ONS report, said: “The figures 
reflect the increase in the price of petrol and diesel in 2011.

“For a lot of households, that kind of expenditure is considered essential.”