Children push pocket money past pounds 2 barrier

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The Independent Online
THE average weekly pocket money in Britain has broken through the psychologically important pounds 2 barrier, lending weight to government assertions that economic recovery is well under way.

A survey by Walls, the ice-cream makers, shows that the average hand-out to 5- to 16-year-olds is pounds 2.05 a week, compared with pounds 1.87 last year.

However, with a rise in pocket money of 9 per cent - 2.5 times the rate of inflation - in a single year, there may well be concern that increased purchasing power among children might help to suck in imports if Britain's manufacturing base in crisps and sweet and sticky things fails to keep up.

The average weekly income of British children - comprising pocket money, hand-outs from relatives and friends and money from part-time jobs is pounds 4.30 - a rise of 4 per cent on last year.

Analysts at Walls have found surprising regional variations. Children in the North-west are the richest. Their pocket money has risen 39 per cent to pounds 2.47 and their combined income is pounds 5.57 - an increase of 60 per cent. They have overtaken the historically affluent children of London and the South, whose pocket money is now only just above average.

Children in Scotland receive the least pocket money - pounds 1.75. Their weekly income, however, is pounds 4.84, which is among the highest figures.

The lowest weekly total, pounds 3.55, is received by those in the Midlands and East Anglia. Midlands children are the most fashion-conscious, spending nearly all their money on clothes. Richard Cox, a spokesman for Walls, said children now got six times as much pocket money as in the mid-Seventies.