Spending on lottery 'lower than expected'

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The National Lottery may have gripped the nation's heart, but not its wallet, the latest survey on family spending revealed yesterday.

The average household spent pounds 2.10 - less than 1 per cent of its weekly expenditure - on the lottery in January to March this year, the Central Statistical Office revealed.

Only a tiny percentage spent more than pounds 5 a week on lottery tickets. Caution seemed justified, with average winnings a miserly 80p, less than half the average weekly stake.

And the idea that the poor spend more of their income on lottery tickets proved to be unfounded, according to the report. Spending ranged from 70p in the poorest tenth of the population to pounds 3 in the third richest group. The most well-off spent pounds 2.80.

As a percentage of expenditure the poorest tenth of the population were spending 0.8 per cent on the lottery. This figure did not alter by more than 0.1 per cent until the top 20 per cent of the population. Even they spend only between 0.5 and 0.7 per cent.

The annual survey, which monitors changes in family spending, showed that in all areas families appear to be keeping a tight rein on spending despite increases in income. While weekly income went up by pounds 17 to pounds 369.30, average weekly spending only went up by pounds 5 to pounds 283.60.

The divide between rich and poor continued to yawn. The poorest fifth of households had an average income of pounds 79 a week, compared with the top 20 per cent, who had an average income of pounds 853.70. One-parent families with one child had an average weekly income of pounds 164.60.

Between 1965 and 1994-5, weekly income from wages and salaries declined from 76 per cent to 64 per cent of total income.

The report's editor, John King, said this was due to an ageing population, which got most of its income from pensions.

Households with the largest disposable income were in the South East, with an average pounds 343.20 - 42 per cent more than the lowest, region, Wales [pounds 241.50]. Over a fifth of Welsh household income came from social security benefits, compared with a tenth in the South- East.

Expenditure varied greatly with different levels of income. While the highest 10 per cent were spending pounds 625.90 per week, the poorest 10 per cent spent over pounds 500 less than this, at pounds 82.10.

Food, at pounds 50.40 per week, remained the highest weekly expense, except in the South-East and South-West where housing overtook this.

In all areas food and housing accounted for a third of all household expenditure. Northern Ireland spent the largest percentage on food [21.3 per cent] with the South-East spending least.

Mr King said that two consumer durables accurately reflected the income of the households - CD players and dishwashers.

Only 15 per cent of the poorest households own a CD players, whereas nearly three- quarters of the richest 10 per cent do.

Similarly, 2 per cent of the poorest householders have a dishwasher, compared with 55 per cent of the richest.

Ownership of telephones has jumped dramatically since 1975 when only 52 per cent possessed one. Now 91 per cent of households possess one.

Video-recorders have also become a must-have item, with fewer than a third owning one in 1985, compared with more than three-quarters last year.

Two-thirds of households now have a car or a van and one in five households have two cars. Half of all households now have a tumble dryer.

Family Spending: A report on the 1994/95 Family Expenditure Survey; HMSO pounds 34.95.

Analysis of average weekly expenditure

Northern Ireland: Largest amount of washing machines but lowest proportion of tumble driers

Scotland: Biggest spenders on spirits and liquers, housing only 4th biggest expense at pounds 4 a week

Wales: Lowest weekly expenditure of all regions although spending on tea 5p above UK average.

South West: Biggest spenders on postage, highest car/van ownership

South East excluding London: Highest expenditure on pets, hairdressing and beauty treatment.

Greater London: Highest spenders on housing, the telephone and bottled waters

East Anglia: Lowest spenders on tobacco and alcohol but highest proportion of central heating

West Midlands: Expenditure lower than the UK average in all categories

East Midlands: Spent almost 40 per cent above UK average on motoring and fares

Yorkshire & Humberside: Biggest purchasers of tobacco and over pounds 9 a week spent on beer and cider

The North: Spends most on alcohol and smallest expenditure on hairdressing and beauty treatments

North West: Biggest spenders on holiday, lowest proportion of central heating

Food: pounds 50.40

Housing: pounds 46.40

Leisure Goods &

Services: pounds 45.10

Motoring Expenditure & fares: pounds 42.80

Household Goods & Services: pounds 37.70

Clothing and Footwear: pounds 17.10

Fuel and Power: pounds 12.90

Alcoholic Drink: pounds 12.30

Personal Goods & Services: pounds 10.80

Tobacco: pounds 5.60

Miscellaneous: pounds 2.30

(lottery spending not included as it only covers the quarter Jan-Mar 1995 when it was pounds 2.10 per week)