The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be read in the context of the date it was published. Views in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Scottish Friendly.

As mentioned in my previous blog, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered his Autumn Statement and Spending Review last week; a mid-year assessment of the UK economy and the Government’s strategy on future economic policy.

His speech outlined some welcome news to many, particularly, his U-turn on tax credits, which will have been met with relief by the thousands of families who would otherwise have been facing a hard to fill loss in income.

In equally important economic news, the latest Scottish Friendly ‘Disposable Income Index’, showed that across the UK disposable incomes have fallen by 0.4 percentage points since this time last year. Launched at the start of the 2014 the index tracks the amount of money that people have left over each month after bills and essentials have been paid for.

Unfortunately it seems that people’s pockets have taken something of a hit as we head towards Christmas, one of the most expensive times of the year. The report revealed on average we are left with around 10.1 per cent of salary in spending money, an average of £237 per person. This compares to £240 last quarter and £278 this time last year.

Interestingly, over the last year the North West saw the biggest fall of 1.7 percentage points (£225 per month), closely followed by the North East (£204 per month) and South East (£214 per month) which both saw a 1.1 percentage point fall. Scotland saw the biggest rise year on year with an increase of 1.1 percentage points of disposable income amounting to an average of £269 in Scots pockets each month.

It’s never welcome news when people’s disposable income falls and it’s especially unwelcome in the run up to Christmas. So while we hope you let your hair down over the next few weeks and enjoy the festivities, don’t forget to consider building your savings and investment reserves.

No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.