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Numbers, numbers

Households spend £1,542 every month on utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, the weekly shop and other bills. It equates to annual bill of £24,100.

However, the typical Briton earns an annual salary of £23,244, which after tax only leaves them with £1,497 each month.

The way they\’ve written that makes possible solutions to the puzzle quite easy to find.

The first one could be that people are dipping into their savings in order to fund their living. However, we\’re pretty sure this isn\’t true: outstanding debt is going down, the savings rate is up.

Two other possibilities. Firstly, that the average household has more than one income earner. Thus the comparison of household expenditures to individual incomes doesn\’t mean very much.

The second is that individual incomes don\’t mean very much because we have a benefits system. Such benefits tend not to be included in individual incomes (while they are in household incomes) but they are available to pay household expenses.

8 thoughts on “Numbers, numbers”

  1. Does n’t look good though does it? The fact is that the wonder of the markets we’re always hearing about does n’t provide sufficient wages for people to survive.Also their rents and mortgages are inflated by systemic land price creep (hence the need for LVT).But LVT is a fairly radical intervention in the property market.Perhaps Prof Wolff of’ Capitalism hits the Fan’ is right with his simple Marxian diagnosis.Real wages are going down and people have to borrow off the banks to stay alive.

  2. “The fact is that the wonder of the markets we’re always hearing about does n’t provide sufficient wages for people to survive.”

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Or are you not at all curious to know what is included in those definitions of ‘weekly grocery shop’ and ‘other bills’..?

  3. “Does n’t look good though does it? The fact is that the wonder of the markets we’re always hearing about does n’t provide sufficient wages for people to survive.”

    So long as there is a wide ranging benefits and tax credits system it doesn’t need to. If you subsidise the low paid the markets will ensure there are plenty of them.

  4. Doesn’t look good though does it? The fact is that the wonder of the markets we’re always hearing about doesn’t provide sufficient wages for people to survive.

    Rubbish. There are sufficient wages, on average, for people to survive (obviously there are difficult cases at the lower end). What this is saying is that you can’t run the average household on just one income. But no-one tries to, nowadays.

  5. What about child benefit? Everyone with children gets that so surely that should be added to the figures.

  6. More likely the survey is rubbish, these ones always are. Things like their survey populaiton is self–selecting, earn a lot more than £25k, they include business spending on utilities etc etc.

    I mean doesn’t this seem quite a lot?

    Car insurance has seen the biggest jump over the past 12 months, going up £369.60 to an average of £1,460.04 per year.

  7. Let’s just go through this, shall we? A monthly bill of £1,542 equates to an annual bill of £24,100, because 12 months at £1,542 equals…gosh, only £18,504. But, pressing ahead, for what is a simple arithmetical error to a Telegraph journalist who can’t even tell his average from his median, the income and expendure figures match even if only roughly one in a hundred households includes two earners on median incomes.

    Shame on you all for taking such tosh seriously.

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