Belfast Telegraph

South Belfast's pensioners among best-off in UK


Savings: Barbara Lewsley
Savings: Barbara Lewsley
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Pensioners in south Belfast have the best retirement incomes in Northern Ireland with an average yearly stipend of nearly £18,000, it's been claimed.

But pensioners across the province are less well-off than in the UK as a whole, according to the figures from financial advice firm NFU Mutual.

Pensions here average just £265 per week before tax - £10 a week less than the UK average.

The data includes both the state pension and any private pensions.

However, it does not count pensioners whose incomes are too low to be taxed.

Tax is only paid on income over £11,850.

NFU Mutual, which specialises in advice to farmers, said Belfast South tops the local table with an average annual pension income of £17,700.

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The constituency has the eighth highest average pension incomes in the UK.

Average pension incomes for taxpayers in Belfast South are £5,500 more than those in West Tyrone (£12,200) - the lowest here.

For local taxpayers, average pension incomes are £13,800, £500 a year less than the UK average.

East Londonderry had the second highest pension income at £16,700, followed by North Down at £15,500.

But neighbours of North Down in the south of the county had pension incomes which were nearly 20% lower at £12,600.

East Belfast pensioners enjoyed incomes of £14,600, while those in North Belfast had around £13,100.

But pensioners in the west of the city were the least well off, with incomes of £12,700.

Barbara Lewsley, chartered financial planner at NFU Mutual, said: "These statistics shine a light on how modest many people's incomes are in retirement.

"A lot of working people might struggle to make ends meet with similar incomes and this should prompt them to review their long-term finances.

"It's essential that people take stock and look at how much they're saving for the future."

NFU Mutual's figures are taken from HM Revenue & Customs' personal incomes statistics.

While South Belfast is the location of some of the city's most affluent areas, such as the Malone Road, three of the constituency's 23 wards - Shaftesbury, Woodstock and Blackstaff - are ranked in the 10% most deprived wards here.

A Northern Ireland Assembly Constituency Profile also reports that the consituency has a lower rate of unemployment than the UK as a whole, and lower rates for people claiming unemployment benefit.

Belfast Telegraph