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‘It’s a struggle to find cash to keep homes warm in Bradford'
Yorkshire people are renowned for being careful when it comes to parting with their cash.
So it is no surprise that the recent Office of National Statistics Family Spending Survey 2012 has found a North/South divide in the amount of money we pay for some of our daily needs and essentials.
According to figures from the ONS, Londoners and families in the South East generally spend more on recreation and culture; TV, video and computers, newspapers and magazines, sports admissions, subscriptions and leisure class fees and equipment hire compared to the North.
The South also cleans up on everyday essentials such as toiletries and soap, hair products and cosmetics but that doesn’t mean they take better care of themselves as according to the survey folk in Yorkshire and the Humber spend less on medicines, prescriptions, healthcare products and equipment.
It’s supposedly colder up North yet the survey finds Southerners are spending more on gas and electricity – one of the biggest factors in Northern folk’s financial woes.
Our on-street survey in Bradford found more families this year are struggling to heat their homes due to hiking energy prices.
For Damien Mulqueen, 29 and Samantha Wilson, 28, it is causing greater financial hardship for them as they are both unemployed with two young sons, Harry four and three-month-old Jake.
“I put an extra jumper on!” laughs Damien.
“Bills have gone up, the price of fuel has gone up so has the price of food,” says Claire Hird, 27 from Bradford and her partner, Scott Deighton, a builder.
Recently unemployed electrical engineer Shaun Taylor, 34, and partner Tammie Martin from Cleckheaton are also finding it tough.
The couple, who have three children Kaitlyn, six, Konnah, three and one-year-old Kaileb, say they are spending at least £50 per week on gas. “Gas is costing a fortune and food shopping, we seem to be getting less for our money.”
Mum Samantha Williams, 34 and from Bradford, estimates she is spending £55 a week on her gas bill alone.
When asked whether folk are spending in less in Yorkshire compared to the South because we’re more frugal with our spending, she added: “I think we have no choice at the moment. I have had no pay increase and everything is going up.”
Samantha says food is another item which has significantly increased in price. “Food has definitely gone up, it is ridiculous,” she adds.
Rebecca Beever, 28, from Bradford, mum to eight-year-old Dylan and six-year-old Lewis, says she is spending far more on food and clothes than before. According to the ONS survey folk living in Yorkshire and Humber are averaging £20.50 per week on clothing and footwear compared to the average weekly spend in London of £27.20. Families in the North East and North West also pay slightly more along with those in the South East and South West. Families in the East and West Midlands pay the least – an average weekly spend of £19.50.
Clothes are also a prominent expense for 30-year-old Aqsa Kiran and her family but Aqsa says she manages their expenditure with a weekly budget.
“I like having a weekly budget but sometimes it seems like it is going up more than the budget, you cannot maintain the budget.”
When it comes to food shopping, people in Yorkshire and Humber spend an average weekly £49 on food and non-alcoholic drinks compared to the £59 forked out by those living in London. Interestingly expenditure on bacon and ham and fresh, chilled or frozen beef is slightly greater in Yorkshire and Humber compared to London, yet people in London spend more per week on pasta, bread, rice and cereals.
Surprisingly, for a county famed for its tea drinking, Yorkshire families and those in the North East and Scotland spend ten pence less than families in London, the East and West Midlands and the South East on its weekly char purchases.
But we do surpass the South with our sweet tooth spending marginally more on confectionery products and our London counterparts.
Linda Harrison, also 34 and from Oakenshaw, mum to one-year-old Kayden and 13-year-old Ronan, agrees food and heating bills are costing far more forcing many to ponder whether they should pay their gas and electric bills or buy food.
Her only ‘little luxury’ is her cigarettes. Interestingly, the ONS household expenditure survey found people in Yorkshire and Humber spend a weekly average of £12.50 on alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics compared to families in London whose weekly average spend on such items is £10.70.
Interestingly, though, Londoners spend more on wine (£4 a week) with folk in Yorkshire and Humber spending more on beer, lager, ciders and perry (brought home).
When it comes to holidays families in the North, South East and South West appear to spend more on package breaks abroad compared to their London counterparts, while technology remains an integral part of the household budget with families in London, the South East and South West spending only slightly more than their Northern counterparts on internet subscription fees.
We also love our pets with families in Yorkshire and Humber spending a weekly average of £3.80 compared to the £2.90 spent by London families.
Education is another example of the North/South divide with families in the South spending more than those in the North.
In Yorkshire and Humber, the average weekly education expenditure, accounting for fees and payments for school trips, is £3.40 compared to £14.40 in London. Understandably rent is substantially more in London than it is in Yorkshire and Humber costing £89.10 on average a week for London tenants compared to the £37.60 paid by those in Yorkshire and Humber.
Transport is another escalating expenditure, according to our on-street survey, and the second highest category in the ONS household expenditure survey.
Yorkshire and Humber families spend more on fuel than their London counterparts and slightly less on bus and coach and rail fares.
Eighteen-year-old college students Lauren Peters, from Queensbury, and Becky Belt, from Bradford, both cited bus travel expenses as their most costly outgoing.
“We have to be careful,” says Lauren, referring to controlling their expenditure like true Yorkshire folk, “If you’re not careful you’re skint and have no money for anything.”
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