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Household spending at highest ever level

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The average household spend is at the highest level ever at £483.60 a week in 2011, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

This is an increase of £10 from the year before. The largest dent to household income comes from the cost of transport, £65.70 a week, up 80p from 2010.

Over half of all transport (£36.40) was on running costs, which rose by £3.10, an increase of nine per cent, following last year’s 14% increase.

The cost of petrol, diesel and other motor oils has increased by £3.30, alongside the cost of insuring the vehicle, up £1.40 from 2010.

An increase in spending on entertainment, like nights at the cinema and video games, was the second highest cost to weekly outgoings.

The third highest category was housing, fuel and power, with an increase to £63.30 in 2011 from £60.40 in 2010.

The ONS says that this was partly due to an increase in maintenance and repair of dwellings, which rose by £1.00 to £7.70. Gross rent rose by 70p in 2011, to £40.60. Average spending on electricity, gas and other fuels was £22.10 per week, an increase of 70p.

Weekly household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drinks increased from £53.20 in 2010 to £54.80 in 2011. However, the amounts spent on fresh fruit (£3.10) and vegetables (£4.00) were unchanged.

The ONS also highlighted that there was ‘notable difference’ between low-earning households and those in top-earning brackets.

The lowest-income group spent a larger proportion of their total average weekly expenditure on housing, fuel and power (23 per cent), and food and non-alcoholic drinks (16%), than those in the highest income group (8 per cent in both expenditure categories).

Households in the highest income group spent a greater proportion on transport (16 per cent) and recreation and culture

Differences by income were also evident for internet access, with 41 per cent of households in the lowest income group having access to the internet at home, compared with 99 per cent of the highest income households.

However, expenditure on the housing, fuel and power category was higher in urban areas (£61.30 per week) than in rural areas (£58.30 per week).

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