People in Kilkenny are struggling to get by with less disposable income than people in almost every other county, new figures show.
Data published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that Kilkenny is ranked a lowly 21 out of the 26 counties when it comes to spending power per head of population. Only in Donegal, Roscommon, and Offaly did locals have less cash in their pockets.
Years of austerity budgets have taken their toll on the public, and a lack of disposable income affects social inclusion in a variety of ways, with people unable to even occasionally go out for a meal.
Michael Saunders of Killkenny MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) says there are a number of different factors at play, including the fact that people are no longer getting salary increases, and many of those working are not full time.
“In addition, a lot of people who are [classed as] ‘employed’ in Kilkenny are actually working in Dublin, Clonmel, Waterford,” he said.
“So the cost is high, the cost of commuting too. Rental costs – properties seem to have dried up and there are very few. There’s also very little credit available for example, to change cars. People are driving old cars and it’s costing them a lot for repairs.
“There are also 100,000 people in the country in mortgage arrears, and their credit rating is affected. They can’t get a loan from the banks, the Credit Union. So their disposable income is affected but they can’t borrow for