Disposable Income Figures in Ireland

Below is  is a post which  we have from November 2009 –  which makes interesting reading in the light of the today’s minimum wage reduction and the forthcoming Budget 2011  which is expected to cut many welfare benefits…..

The CSO published a report in 2009  – “Survey on Income and Living Conditions ”  which several newspapers picked up on and wrote about.
Most of the reports in the press that I saw were headlines such  as  ” One in seven people at risk of poverty”  or   ” One fifth of all households report arrears ”   or even  “Ireland’s  poverty rate above EU average ”

In amongst all the doom and gloom and bad news – were some interesting figures – especially with the  Budget looming.
Maybe the headlines should have been ” You might be  better off not Working”  or ” Irish people are better off than they think

The report tells us that in 2008 the average net disposable household income in Ireland increased by 2.2%  to €49,043 (from €47,988 in 2007 ).

In 2008 – Irish households in which the head of household was unemployed had an average disposable income of €35,208 – which is 58% of the average household income of households where the head of household was at work (€60,977).

Households headed by an unemployed person had an increase of  25.2% in their disposable income between 2007 and 2008. This compares with an increase in the average  disposable household income of just over 1% in the same period for households where the head of household was in work.

Disposable income is  net  of tax and PRSI.

Another interesting statistic was  that between 2007 and 2008 – Irish households where there was no person at work experienced a 13.1% increase in their net disposable household income .  This compares with an increase of 6.8% in households where one person was at work and  a decrease of 1.5% in households where two people were at work.

The figures for welfare benefits will have  to come down in line with other people’s income

Comparison with UK :
UK figures for 2007/2008 show that the average household disposable income (net of tax . National Insurance and Council Tax)  was £27,769. Even if we ignore the Council Tax – (Av £1100 ) – that still leaves a national UK average of £28,869
Comparisons are complicated by fluctuating exchange rates – but the Irish figure is about 70% more than the UK figure  (ignoring currencies).
Maybe these figures will help explain some of the pricing differences between goods in UK and Irish shops?  If the average Irish disposable household income is 70% more than the UK  (ignoring exchange rates) – then we should not be surprised if something that costs £40 in the UK costs €60 Euro here in Ireland .(50% more)
Even when using an exchange rate of 1.50 – the converted UK figure comes to €43,300 – still  €6k below the Irish income figure.
We realise that averages can hide lots of other things and can be swayed by very high or very low figures – but it still is an interesting comparison which may make Irish people realise that maybe things are not that bad here after all? No Council Tax or Water Rates either….

References  :  CSO Survey ; UK National Statistics