Restaurant and pub prices up - and will keep rising
Rising café and restaurant prices and more costly alcohol saw the inflation rate move up last month.
And these prices are expected to keep going up after the decision to raise the VAT rate for the hospitality and services sectors.
The annual inflation rate crept up to 0.7pc in December, compared with the same month in the previous year, with higher costs for mortgages and air fares also contributing.
The annual rise was 0.6pc in November.
Restaurants and hotel prices increased primarily due to higher prices for alcoholic drinks and food consumed in licensed premises, restaurants and cafés.
These rises came ahead of the VAT rate for the hospitality sector being put back up to 13.5pc.
The tax for the sector was cut to 9pc to stimulate the tourism industry in 2012, but was restored from January 1 as part of Budget 2019.
This is expected to see prices rise even more in the months ahead, with higher costs expected for takeaway coffees, meals out, haircuts and pints due to the VAT hike.
The slight rise in the inflation rate in December was despite falls in petrol and diesel prices and hotel accommodation costs, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Prices were unchanged in the month, compared with a monthly decline of 0.5pc in November.
In the last year, consumers have been hit by higher rents and mortgage interest repayments, in addition to an increase in electricity prices, home heating oil and gas.
Mortgage interest costs rose by 1.3pc, despite a number of lenders cutting their fixed rates.
Existing mortgage holders may not be doing enough to seek out better deals, financial experts said.
The cost of cigarettes rose in December due to excise duty rises in the Budget.
Motor insurance prices fell by 7pc, the statisticians said. This is despite many people saying the cost of their motor cover continues to rise.