At a time when the news is dominated by numbers in the financial markets, it is worth putting our own personal finance numbers in perspective. For this I am grateful to Lloyds Bank, who have provided a series of fascinating statistics about earnings and spending in Ashford, as compared with the rest of the country.
The average monthly earnings in Ashford in March, covering the whole constituency and not just the town, were £2,115. That had increased 2.6% over the previous six months.
Total spending per person in March was £2,246, well above the national average, and a 5.75% change from six months earlier. That makes those of us in Ashford the 117th biggest spenders out of the 650 parliamentary constituencies. It also suggests that people were spending more than they were earning.
This is also reflected in the amount we spend on credit cards. The average credit card in Ashford has an unpaid balance of £1,177, which is 79th of all constituencies.
Another set of figures which always interest people are those relating to housing. The average house price in Ashford is £402,000, and that price has surged nearly ten per cent in a year. The average deposit paid was £125,000, which is more than a fifth higher than a year previously. It is perhaps not surprising that nearly a quarter of Lloyd’s customers are renting their home.
I appreciate that these figures are just averages, and that there will be a range of different personal experiences hidden behind them. Mortgage rates are going up, and rents are already high, so the support people can get on their energy prices is very important. So is the level of benefits, for those who need them. These figures for Ashford illustrate the scale of the pressures in the economy.