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Average disposable household income fell in 2010/11

Released: 26 June 2012 Download PDF

Average disposable household income fell by around £200 in real terms between 2009/10 and 2010/11 according to a new article, published today by ONS.

The largest fall was for the middle fifth of households, with disposable incomes decreasing by 4.3 per cent, from £25,500 to £24,400. This was largely driven by a decrease in income from wages and salaries for this group.

Overall, households paid £7,500 per year in direct taxes (such as income tax and council tax). The richest fifth paid 24 per cent of their gross income (£19,700), while the poorest fifth paid 10 per cent of gross household income (£1,300).

However, the lowest income groups pay a much higher share of their income in indirect taxes (such as VAT and duties on alcohol and fuel). The proportion of income paid in indirect taxes has increased for all groups between 2009/10 and 2010/11. The increase can largely be explained by the standard rate of VAT increasing from 15 per cent to 20 per cent over this period.

On average, the poorest fifth saw the biggest increase in the amount of their disposable income paid in indirect taxes (from 28 per cent to 31 per cent). The richest fifth saw the amount paid rise from 12 per cent to 13 per cent. The amount of indirect tax each household pays is determined by how much they spend on goods and services that attract these taxes.

The amount of cash benefits (such as tax credits, housing benefit and income support) received tends to be higher for poorer households than for richer households. The largest cash benefits were received by households in the second quintile group (£8,300 on average, compared with £7,000 for households in the bottom group). This is largely because more retired households are located in the second quintile group, compared with the bottom group, and in this analysis the state pension is classified as a cash benefit. The richest fifth only received £2,100 in cash benefits, with the main source being the state pension.

Background notes

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  3. All figures quoted are in 2010/11 prices.
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  5. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
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