Household charge sparks rise in inflation
THE introduction of the household charge has sparked a renewed bout of inflation.
The €100 charge came in last year and has helped push up the rate of inflation by 0.1pc in December after three months of price falls.
Overall prices were 1.2pc more expensive in December compared with the same month last year, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.
One of the largest price hikes was a 23pc rise in the last year in "miscellaneous goods and services", which the statisticians said refers to the household charge.
The controversial charge was only paid by seven out of 10 households but has still managed to push up the consumer price index.
It will not be due this year and instead will be replaced by the property tax in the summer.
Potato prices were up 27pc in the last year. The wet summer has been blamed for surge in spud prices, with a 5kg bag of Roosters priced at €5.59 in Tesco yesterday.
Electricity and gas prices and ongoing rises in health insurance premiums also added to price pressures. Gas prices were up close to 10pc in December. Electricity costs jumped by 9pc.
A succession of rises in health insurance premium saw the cost of policies spike by 16.5pc in the past year, according to the CSO figures released yesterday.
Education costs and transport price-rises were also blamed for the inflation hike.
Higher college-registration fees imposed by the Government have contributed to making education more expensive.
The cost of taxing a car is up 11pc in the past 12 months, with petrol 8pc dearer and diesel up 4.5pc.
Other items adding to price pressures included increases in the prices of alcohol and tobacco, due to tax rises.
However, Merrion Stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid said weak consumer demand is likely to mean an easing off on price-rise pressures.