The ‘cost of living’ is a phrase that’s rarely out of the news, and our wallets and bills appear to back up the claims that our household spending is on the rise.
The Office of National Statistics has taken a look back at the nation’s household spend for 2013 – and it shows that we did spend more than the year before.
The average amount spent by each family was £517.30 per week – that’s £16 more than in 2012 after inflation is taken into account, and the second most expensive year since 2009. But we’re paying £22.50 less on average than we did in 2006.
Biggest costs – housing, fuel and power
More than 50 % of our spending goes on four main categories: Food, housing & fuel, transport and recreation. In each of them we spent more than the previous year.
• Housing (though not mortgage payments), fuel and power are our biggest costs, coming in at £74.40 a week.
• Transport wasn’t far behind at £70.40, and a third of that was on petrol.
• We hit a total of £63.90 on tickets, subscriptions, pets and other recreational purchases
• Meat and fish make up more than a quarter of our £58.80 spend on food.
Who spends the most?
Londoners don’t actually pay the most overall. It’s actually those in the South East, who spent an average total of £585.40 a week. That’s nearly £6 more than in the capital.
The North East has the lowest average at £424.60, with Yorkshire not far behind with £431.10 and Wales with £438.80.
Remove London and the North of England from the average figures and people actually spend more on getting from A to B than renting and heating their home.
‘Recreation and culture’ – which includes spend on TVs, computers, books, pets and leisure activities - is below the average of £63.10 in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North, West Midlands and London, whilst the Welsh and East Midlanders spend the least on eating and drinking out and hotels.
Families in the South East and Northern Ireland spend the most on a food shop at £63 a week. That’s £6 more than the UK average and nearly £14 more than people in the North East and Yorkshire.
Those in the Midlands spend the least on clothing and footwear, £3 less than the national average of £22.60.