Friday 26 December 2014

Ireland is the third-dearest country in the eurozone

Published 03/02/2014 | 02:30

Irish smokers pay the highest price in Europe
Irish smokers pay the highest price in Europe

Ireland remains one of the most expensive countries in the eurozone for goods and services, a report by state policy advisers Forfas has found.

An unpublished report sent to cabinet shows the State is the third most expensive of the 18 eurozone countries, and that consumers pay on average almost 14pc more for goods and services than across neighbouring countries.

Details of the 'Consumer Costs and Inflation' report were revealed by RTE News and show that during the recession, food prices on average did not rise but that the cost of clothes and shoes increased by 5pc.

Education costs increased by almost 6pc, while we pay almost 35pc more for health care.

It also shows:

* We pay the highest prices for alcohol and tobacco.

* Train and bus tickets rose by 5pc a year during the recession, compared with 1.5pc hikes in other countries.

* Health insurance has risen by more than 14pc a year, compared to 2.5pc across the rest of the eurozone.

The report also says that people should be allowed to change their health insurance provider halfway through their cover period, while more competition for city and urban bus services should be introduced.

Graduates could be made pay back some of the cost of their third-level education after they enter the workforce, while any future wage and salary increases should be linked to productivity and not increases in the cost of living.

Forfas, which advises Government on enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation, has previously carried out similar studies. The last was in 2002, and it found that Ireland was the fourth most expensive country in the eurozone after Finland, Germany and France.

The study is broadly in line with statistics from Eurostat, the European Commission statistics office.

Its most recent study, from 2011, found that Ireland was the fifth most expensive in the eurozone,

Irish Independent

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