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UK Has 'Higher Than Average Inflation'

Aug 18, 2007
Britain is facing some of the highest rises in the cost of living in Europe, according to the publication of new figures.

A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has indicated that Britons are currently paying some 4.9 per cent more for the cost of their groceries than they were at the same time last year. This rise was reported to be about twice the average costs across the continent and over five times as much as those consumers living in France.

The OCED also claimed that Britons' personal finances are being continually squeezed through energy price increases. Across the European Union the average utility bill has risen by 1.5 per cent over the last year. However, British borrowers were said to have seen an average increase of 4.4 per cent. Meanwhile, Norwegians were reported to now pay some 13.7 per cent less on their utility bills than they did 12 months ago.

Overall, consumer prices for energy across the OCED member states rose to 2.6 per cent during the course of May - up from 1.9 per cent in April. However, annual food price growth was reported to have fallen over the course of May to 3.4 per cent in comparison to the 3.6 per cent rise noted in April. Not excluding utility costs or food price rises, inflation was reported to have increased year-on-year by 2.1 per cent - a figure unchanged from April. Out of the 30 countries which make up the organisation only Turkey, Hungary and Mexico were said to be currently experiencing higher levels of inflation than Britain.

According to retailers the recent rise in British food prices has been due to increased costs from farmers as a result of poor harvests. Meanwhile, hikes by utility providers were attributed to the rising prices in the wholesale oil and gas markets. Following such rises, a recent survey by Barclays and children's charity NCH discovered that increasing costs are impacting upon consumers' day-to-day personal finances.

The research indicated that about one out of ten British households have been forced to go without food as they were unable to afford it, with 11 per cent were said to have lacked the money to purchase over-the-counter medicines. Low-income families were also reported to be six times more likely to have gone without food at some point than higher earners. However, with figures released by financial charity Credit Action indicating that about a third of all groceries bought by consumers will end up being thrown in the dustbin, Britons could perhaps be advised to create an efficient budget to help manage their finances.

These consumers were also reported to borrow money to meet day-to-day costs despite having a limited understanding of various financial products such as personal loans. A spokesperson for the charity said: "Some people who get turned down for loans then turn to loan sharks and don't realise that 177 per cent annual percentage rate is an extraordinarily high amount. We need to give people that understanding so they don't fall into that trap."
About the Author
Abbi Rouse writes for the Loan Arrangers. Where visitors can compare loans online, and apply for the best secured loans rate available to them. To read more articles from Abbi go to http://news.loan-arrangers.co.uk
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