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Household incomes reach three-year high but inequailty among families grows

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The average household income of a British family reached a three-year high in the last six months but the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ has widened, research has found.

The typical family’s monthly household income after tax reached £2,126 in May, the highest figure recorded since March 2012 (£2,139). Family incomes have risen by 4.1% in the last six months alone from £2,043.

However, despite these improvements, inequality between families has widened, according to the latest Aviva Family Finance Report.

Couples with plans to have children have made the greatest gains since November 2014 and have seen their monthly incomes rise by £339 from £2,122 to £2,461. This is more than twice the boost enjoyed by any other family type.

In contrast, parents raising children alone have experienced drops in their monthly incomes from £1,176 to £1,077 over the same period. This loss of £99 a month adds up to £1,188 annually, the equivalent of one month’s salary.

The report, which surveyed 26,000 UK adults, also found that families are saving record amounts, setting aside £113 each month on average compared with £99 in November 2014. The typical savings pot is now £3,116.

However, more than a quarter of families (26%) are saving nothing each month, and the percentage with no savings cushion has remained static at 17% over the last six months.

Aviva said this suggests that, while those families who can already afford to save are making efforts to put more money away, the situation has shown little sign of improving for those who were already struggling or failing to do so.

Louise Colley, managing director, protection at Aviva, said: “This summer’s Family Finances Report brings great news for some British families, but also rings alarm bells for others.

“We must not overlook the growing number of families in danger of being left behind by this resurgence. Single parents face a challenge to maintain their standards of living on lower incomes. It is no wonder that many families are still finding it a struggle to put money away each month.”

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