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News - 10 February 2006
We are all Scrooges now

No wonder consumers aren’t spending!

The cost of staying alive has soared over the past few years and consumers have finally decided that they just can’t afford to be big spenders any more. Hardly surprising when you look at the figures….

….. fuel bills have rocketed since 2003 with gas prices rising by 39% and electricity not far behind at 29%. British Gas – one of the UK’s principal suppliers put up its prices by 14% in 2005 and 19% in 2004. Speculation around a further 25% rise this year is making householders even more nervous.

UK Council Tax bills have risen by almost 25% in the three years to 2005 and will probably rise by something slightly less than 5% again this year in the south east.

Home and car insurance premiums have risen by over 7% in the last three years, which means that the average household is spending just under £700 p.a. on insurance.

The standard variable rate on mortgages has risen from 5.5% to 6.75% in the last two years which has added £77/month onto the average mortgage.

Rail and bus fares have risen well above the rate of inflation at 14% since 2003 and passengers have already had to face the prospect of above average rises again this year.

Contrasted against this the price of electronic goods and clothing has fallen considerably but these are purchases that consumers often do not consciously take into account when they are calculating their cost of living.

The increase in the value of property which led many to believe that the increases were all relative has stalled and now consumers are watching bills rise year on year which is bad news for retailers, hoteliers, tourism venues and the Treasury.

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