Residents of the South-East Save the Most Money Despite Living in the Priciest Region

published Nov 16, 2018
1 min read

Great Britain

The South-East might fall just behind London when it comes to the total weekly cost of living, however, living comfortably also depends on many factors. Some of these include income, savings, and more. With London holding a higher median full-time gross weekly earnings figure, this puts the South-East behind London, and right at the bottom of the table.

Being the most expensive for housing (mortgage interest repayments and council tax), food and drink (non-alcoholic), and transport 1, residents of the South-East have an average deficit of £57.30 a week. This puts the average person of the South-East, the most populous region of the UK, in debt by approximately £245 a month!

In fact, the average weekly cost of living can change by a whopping £206, dependent on region 1. Whilst the gross income also harbours a difference of £194.10 across the UK too, how comfortable Brits are living varies a lot depending on where they are in the UK.

On the other end of the scale, the North-East has landed top spot for being the most comfortable region to reside, with an average of £67 a week left for anything above and beyond the necessities. Weekly spend on food and drink (non-alcoholic) in the North-East has been found to be over 20% less than the most expensive region, whilst transport is over 10% cheaper than any other area 1.

Region Total Weekly Cost of Living (£) 1 Median Full-Time Gross Weekly Earnings (£) 2 Difference (£)
North-East 437.00 504 67
Scotland 492.3 547.3 55
London 643.7 692.5 48.8
West Midlands 472.2 514.9 42.7
Wales 458.7 498.4 39.7
North-West 492.4 514 21.6
Yorkshire and the Humber 489.7 502.5 12.8
Northern Ireland 497.1 501.2 4.1
East 558.1 545.5 -12.6
South-West 535.5 520 -15.5
East Midlands 530.8 499.4 -31.4
South-East 632.2 574.9 -57.3

However, when it comes to savings and contributions to life assurance or pension funds, the story is found to be the opposite. The South-East saves more than any other region, whilst the North-East saves the least.

Region Weekly Contributions to Life Assurance and Pension Funds (£) 1 Weekly Contributions to Savings & Investments (£) 1
South-East 29.40 8.90
London 27.60 6.30
East 25.30 6.80
Scotland 22.70 5.10
North-West 21.40 4.10
East Midlands 21.00 6.40
Yorkshire and the Humber 20.40 6.40
Wales 18.80 3.70
West Midlands 18.70 3.40
South-West 18.10 7.70
Northern Ireland 18.00 3.40
North-East 17.30 2.60

Forty-four per cent of 18-34-year-olds say they have no pension provision 2, even though the average state pension equates to only £164.35 a week (over 62% less than the cost of living in the cheapest region), and millions of households with mortgages don’t have life insurance coverage.

These are things Brits don’t necessarily want to think about, but the average outstanding mortgage debt currently sits at over £124,239 3, and the average funeral cost is £4,078 4 (using a funeral director). This means without savings, and a life insurance provision being a priority when it comes to outgoings, if the unfortunate happened, loved ones may be stung.


1 ONS – UK, financial year ending 2015 to the financial year ending 2017

2 YouGov – Four in ten millennials have no pension provision – June 2017

3 The Money Charity, The Money Statistics, August 2018

4 The Money Advice Service – How much does a funeral cost?