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Disposable incomes in the UK have risen by almost five per cent in the last year according to the latest findings from Scottish Friendly’s ‘Disposable Income Index’. 
The report shows that people now have an average of 9.7 per cent of their salary left over each month after bills and essentials have been paid for, up from 5.2 per cent this time last year. This equates to a national average of £255 per person each month.?
Tumbling prices and falling unemployment have been contributing factors to the growth, which in turn has led to people putting more money away in savings. The index found that there has been a seven per cent rise in those contributing to savings or investments each month – approximately 30.5 million people across the UK.
In addition, the average amount being saved has almost doubled, rising from £72 a month per person on average in 2014 to £140 in 2015 - a jump of nearly 95 per cent - which means that the nation is currently putting aside in the region of £42.7bn each month.
Most encouragingly, the demographic with the largest number of savers are the 18-24 year olds, with 72 per cent of them putting an average of £156 away each month.
Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, said:
"It has been a good year for much of the UK and the general feeling is that with low inflation and unemployment falling, the future is looking bright. The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said that families will start to feel richer than they have done in a decade and the statistics are starting to support this - 2015 looks set to be the year of the savers.
"It is heartening to see such a high percentage of youngsters take up the savings mantle. Leaving school during a period of economic turmoil and austerity seems to have had a positive effect on a generation that, perhaps due to pressures such as having to pay large deposits for houses, is now more geared to accumulating wealth rather than spending it.
"Despite the fact that inflation might be below zero for much of 2015, there is still the risk that interest rates may rise later this year. With a little more cash in hand, Britons need to think about overpaying any debt they have and save for the future rather than spend."
Regionally those living in the East Midlands, Scotland and the South East have the highest levels of disposable income, with people left with around a tenth of their take home salary in spending money each month.
People living in the North East of England and Wales take home the least disposable income each month. Indeed, in the last year, people in the North East have seen the slowest rise in disposable income, growing by just 2.5 percentage points - this is compared to the national average of 4.5 per cent. The biggest rise in disposable income was seen by people in the East Midlands and Scotland, which climbed by 5.8 percentage points and 5.5 percentage points respectively.
Annual change in levels of disposable income by region:
|Region of the UK||Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q1 2014||Per cent of salary attributed to disposable income – Q1 2015||Percentage difference||Average disposable income Q1 2015|
|NATIONAL||5.2 per cent||9.7 per cent||+4.5||£255|
|South West||5.7 per cent||10.1 per cent||+4.4||£247|
|Wales||5.0 per cent||8.9 per cent||+3.9||£197|
|North West||5.6 per cent||9.5 per cent||+3.9||£239|
|West Midlands||5.3 per cent||8.6 per cent||+3.3||£232|
|Yorkshire & Humberside||5.3 per cent||9.7 per cent||+4.4||£233|
|North East||5.1 per cent||7.6 per cent||+2.5||£175|
|East Midlands||5.5 per cent||11.3 per cent||+5.8||£277|
|Scotland||5.2 per cent||10.7 per cent||+5.5||£282|
|South East||5.1 per cent||10.2 per cent||+5.1||£279|
|London||4.5 per cent||9.1 per cent||+3.7||£303|
|Northern Ireland||4.9 per cent||9.2 per cent||+4.3||£229|
Scottish Friendly is not responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed on externally linked third party websites. The Scottish Friendly Group of Companies consists of the following companies: Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited – Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Member of AFM, Member of ABI: Life, Savings and Investments. Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited – Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Member of The Investment Association. Registered in Scotland No 187215: OEIC Managers, ISA Managers. Scottish Friendly Insurance Services Limited – Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in Scotland No 113007. SFIS (Nominees) Limited - Registered in Scotland No 397351. Head office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.