Bankers heartened by rise in pocket money

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The Independent Online
Children's pocket money is up for the first time in three years, according to a new report published today. A top banker is hailing the trend as a sign of economic recovery.

Youngsters aged between six and nine are pocketing an average of pounds 1.61 a week, according to the annual survey by the Halifax Building Society. Researchers say that is 36p up on last year, the first increase since 1992. Four in five children have also been on holiday this year, a further sign that the feel-good factor is returning, according to the Halifax.

"This upturn in family fortunes is encouraging," said a Halifax chief executive, Mike Blackburn.

"It's natural for children to be the first to benefit when parents have money to spend, so the increase in pocket money and the promise of a holiday can be seen as signs that a consumer recovery is taking place in many parts of the country."

Most of the money is going on sweets, toys and books or magazines, although spending on sweets has dropped in the North. But more than one in three children say they save more than they spend, and one in four say they save it all.

Youngsters in Greater London are best off. Their average income has risen to pounds 2.41. Northern children are next with an average of pounds 1.98 and youngsters in the South-east bring up the rear with pounds 1.18.

In the North-west, six- to nine-year-olds get an average of pounds 1.37; in the Midlands, pounds 1.45; in the East, pounds 1.44; and in South Wales and the West, pounds 1.35.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,500 members of the Halifax's LittleXtra savings club before compiling the report.