By Daniel Hunter

The weakest wage increase on record is impacting on family spending, with the amount people can afford to spend falling by £2 a week, says the latest Asda Income Tracker.

The average family had £157 of discretionary income in September, significantly lower than the £165 households had at their disposal in February 2010.

The pressure on family spending is believed to be down to the fact that average pay increased by 0.8%, while inflation on essential items has fallen to 2.8%.

Hikes in the cost of gas and electricity bills have also impacted on the amount of disposable income families have. The overall result is that the cost of living continues to outpace wages growth.

Spending power differs by region, with east England and Scotland enjoying marginal growth, while the West Midlands and Northern Ireland are feeling the brunt of economic pressures.

“When you look beyond the capital and the South East the situation across the regions gets steadily worse — with families in Northern Ireland and the North East still squeezed to a far greater degree,” said Andy Clarke, Asda president and CEO.

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