This day next week the country will go to the polls to elect a new Government.
For the last few months and most certainly in the seven days ahead, we’ll hear all sorts of promises most of which will involve allegedly putting money back in our pockets.
Everyone should be a little better off already based on the gains from last year’s Budget, with the level of USC reduced on wages since January and the minimum wage increased ever so slightly.
However, those slight gains are little good when the cost of living is going through the roof.
According to the Consumers’ Association of Ireland families are being devastated by rip-off rises in the cost of living that means, for a lot of people, there financial situation is set to be worse in 2016 than it was last year.
Amongst the rises include a 30% surge in car insurance over the past year, a 7% increase in home insurance premiums and a 2% increase on health insurance plans.
Those renting have also endured an average hike of 8%, putting a further dent in the hopes of saving for a mortgage deposit, while education costs, most notably at third level, have also increased.
Dermot Jewell of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland said that much of the population continues to struggle with rising costs which are “working against families.”
That means that talk of recovery by the Government is not really being felt at all in people’s pockets.
“The cost of living is rising, there is no question,” said Jewell.
“People are not necessarily better off at all. I hate to be miserable about it, but these are not good signs from January as to what will happen with the cost of living over the next six months.”
The figures show a widening chasm between home owners and private renters as the costs of private rents continued to climb. Private rents soared in the year, while mortgage interest costs have fallen 7.3%.
The huge housing costs chasm will likely widen further if new ECB measures widely expected next month were to keep mortgage costs here lower for longer.
Despite the entire hospitality industry being handed a special Vat cut in recent budgets, restaurant bills and hotel prices also continue to go up.
Mr Jewell said consumers believe that they are “being ripped off again”, with price hikes eroding any benefits people might receive in their pay packet.
So with the election on the horizon we ask you:
- Have you seen your economic situation improved?
- Are you struggling to pay basic bills?
- Will the extra money in your pay packet or the hikes in bills effect how you vote next week?
Have your say below…