herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Households see 4.8pc hike in utility bills

Higher costs of health and motor insurance, alcohol, and dining out contributed to an overall rise of 0.4pc in consumer prices in the past year.

Among the most notable price increases since August last year was alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-licences and tobacco which rose an average of 3.9pc.

Higher prices for hotel accommodation and food consumed in pubs, restaurants and cafés as well as drinks pushed prices up 2.8pc in the hospitality sector. Education costs rose by 4.5pc during the year.

Fuels

Overall, there was a 4.8pc increase in the cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

These increases were offset somewhat by a fall in the cost of other goods and services during the 12 months. There was a 4.6pc fall in the cost of telephone and telefax services and related equipment prices.

Food prices and non- alcoholic drink prices fell by 2.6pc mainly due to lower prices across a range of products such as vegetables, meat, bread and cereals.

The new figures, released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), also showed clothing and footwear costs were down 2pc in the year gone by.

Household furnishings and home maintenance costs fell by 1.9pc mainly due to the reduced price of furniture, textiles, glassware, tableware and utensils.

On a month by month basis, consumer prices rose by 0.2pc in August compared to July. The monthly figures were affected by factors such as falls in airfares and fuel prices and lower ticket prices for theatres and other venues.

Hotel accommodation went up in price during August.

The CSO also revealed that Irish people upped their spending on trips abroad.

Total tourism and travel spending by Irish residents overseas increased by 7pc in the three months from April to June this year when they spent €1.1bn, compared to €1.09bn in the same period last year.

Ireland's tourism industry got a welcome 12.3pc increase in the numbers of visitors coming to the country in the April-June period this year.

Visits by non-residents jumped from 1.89m visitors in the three month period last year to 2.12m in the same period this year.

Tourism

The total number of nights spent here by visitors in those three months this year was 15.1m nights compared to 13.3m last year.

Total tourism and travel earnings from overseas travellers to Ireland increased by a whopping 18pc between April-June last year at €1.1bn and April-June this year when it reached €1.3bn.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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