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Running forward to stand still

The average household is £5 a week worse off than last year. The cost of living rose by 4.9 per cent to £388 a week. Earnings also increased but soaring bills for essentials such as food and transport mean that disposable income has fallen to £138 a week according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business . the charity Credit Action, said:
“When you add together the increases in grocery bills, energy costs and the fact that all credit is getting more expensive, it means that the real cost of inflation is far above the Government’s measure."

CEBR carried out the research on behalf of the supermarket group Asda. It found that the average family had to pay 6.1 per cent more for food in January compared with January 2007, and 6.4 per cent more for transport. Petrol prices were nearly 20 per cent higher. Only a 4.8 per cent fall in the cost of clothing helped lessen the pressure on consumers’ wallets. Households in Wales have been worst affected by spiralling costs, the CEBR said. The average family has £45 a week to spend on leisure and recreation once weekly bills are met. This is more than 12 per cent less than they had to spend in January 2007.

FSA’s director of financial capability, said: “Economic conditions are getting tougher, putting pressure on family finances...."

Chief executive of Asda, said: “The latest figures indicate that 2008 is going to be a tough year for customers and confirms what we’ve known for some time: that household budgets are stretched to the limit.”

Credit Action said:“We are helping people whose finances are being squeezed significantly. They are not just worrying about mortgage repayments, but are struggling to cover the cost of living week to week.”

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