Winners and losers: Politicians
Cost of living Up 0.9 per cent
National average down 2.1 per cent
Politicians -- a new category in our survey -- are the only group to have seen their cost of living actually rise over the last year. Their cost of living has increased by 0.9 per cent, based on our calculations.
The principal driver of these cost-of-living increases has been the 23.5 per cent hike in petrol prices -- a major cost for constituency travelling. This is unlikely to affect the Green Party TDs as badly as others, as most of them ride bikes to work.
Having to attend every single funeral or function in the constituency is also a big outlay; however, pub and restaurant costs have fallen 2.2 per cent in the past year. Alcohol is more than 8 per cent cheaper, although tobacco is moderately more expensive.
Membership of the local GAA or golf club is cheaper, with fees down 3.4 per cent, tickets to matches have also fallen 0.5 per cent.
The insatiable need to be connected is becoming more expensive with the cost of newspapers and magazines rising by 0.5 per cent, and television charges also up. Communications charges are down slightly, making it more expensive to drip-feed information to the waiting press.
Appearance is hugely important for politicians, with hair gel and other hair products 15.2 per cent cheaper. Deodorant for those stressful constituency clinics is 10.1 per cent cheaper, too.
With many politicians having burgeoning property assets, the 8.3 per cent drop in rent is not welcome. Hotels and other accommodation are now 6.5 per cent cheaper over the last year.
And with the Dail having so many breaks, package holidays are just that bit more expensive for our band of hard-working representatives.