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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Rural living costs up to €109 a week more

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

MANY families and households in rural Ireland have to pay up to €109 a week more than their urban neighbours to maintain the same basic standard of living, a new survey shows.

Excluding housing costs, the two biggest factors are more expensive food and travel costs outside our main cities, according to the findings from the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice.

The survey was conducted in four towns with a population of 300 to 400 people and three regions in central and suburban Dublin last year. It found that female pensioners, single males and families with two children are struggling the most.

It highlighted the fact that the lack of public transport makes it necessary for rural dwellers to own a car.

And because they do not have access to large supermarkets that sell cheaper own-brand goods, their shopping bills are higher.

Bernadette McMahon, a director at the Vincentian Partnership,which is made up of a combination of charities, including the St Vincent de Paul and the Daughters of Charity, said: "It is clear that the national minimum wage and social welfare payments are all arbitrary and not informed on what households need in order to have a minimum essential standard of living."

She added that despite cheaper childcare and health in rural Ireland, food and transport still make the overall bill higher.

"For households with children, two cars are necessary, except in cases where neither parent is working," she said.

The cost difference ranges between €69.91 and €108.61.

Irish Independent

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