The spending power of the average UK household has fallen to a six-month low following the weakest wage growth on record, according to the Asda Income Tracker.
The average UK household had £157 a week of discretionary income in September 2013, down £2 a week from the same month last year and £8 a week from its peak in February 2010.
Asda said weak wage growth was a key factor in the fall, with incomes rising just 0.8% over the past year - the smallest year-on-year rise on record.
Spending power fell back in every region except for the East of England, which rose 1.2% and Scotland, up 0.6%. The West Midlands and Northern Ireland were the hardest hit, with spending power down 3.5%.
The cost of utilities is now 24.7% higher than it was in 2008, equivalent to £700 a year, and will top £4,200 by 2018.
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said: “It’s encouraging to see that inflation in essential items is heading in the right direction. However, it is becoming even more evident that action needs to be taken to address widespread regional discrepancies.
“Aside from overall household spending power being at a six month low and the rising cost of energy bills adding extra pressure, when you look beyond the capital and South East the situation across the regions gets steadily worse – with families in Northern Ireland and the North East still squeezed to a far greater degree.”