herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Spending on booze and fags falls but we're drinking more at home

Spending on alcohol is down
Spending on alcohol is down

Households are spending 29pc less on alcohol and cigarettes than they were five years ago.

A survey released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed how expenditure on the two vices has decreased to an average of €28 a week - down from €39.48.

However, the figures also showed that we are drinking more at home.

Total expenditure on alcohol consumed at home increased from 41pc in 2009-2010 to over 51pc in 2015-2016.

Meanwhile, households are spending proportionally less on food than at any time over the last 35 years.

The CSO revealed the proportion of expenditure on food has been in steady decline in that period, from 27.7pc in the early 1980s to 14.6pc last year.

Crisis

The figures laid bare the effect of the accommodation crisis, with the proportion of expenditure on housing having more than doubled, from 9.6pc to 19.4pc, since 1999-2000.

The statistics were published among detailed results of the 2015-2016 Household Budget Survey (HBS), which was undertaken between February 2015 and February 2016.

A total of 6,839 households across the country were consulted for the study.

Total household expenditure relating to food dropped from 16.2pc in 2009-2010 to 14.6pc in 2015-2016, whereas the proportion related to housing increased from 18.2pc to 19.4pc over this five- year period.

The average weekly household expenditure in 2015-2016 was €845.12 - up 4.3pc on 2009-2010.

Elsewhere, expenditure on transport increased by nearly 7pc, from €116.31 a week in 2009-2010 to €124.39 in 2015-2016.

This was due to an increase in expenditure on car purchases.

There was a 7.1pc decrease in spending under this heading when expenditure on car purchases was excluded.

Worrying

The figures also revealed the increasing importance of technology in our lives.

In 2015-2016, nearly 81pc of all households reported having at least one computer, compared with 77.3pc and 56.2pc five and 10 years previously, respectively.

In 2015-2016, just over half of all households indicated that they had two or more home computers.

Meanwhile, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) highlighted what it described as a "worrying but not an unsurprising pattern" of increase in the proportion of spending on services such as health, childcare and education between 2010 and 2015.

The CSO statistics showed a 13.8pc increase in spending under those headings between 2010 and 2015, compared with a rise in income of 6.8pc during the same period.

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