Power price hikes blamed for rise in cost of living

Electricity price hikes and increased charges for prescription drugs were today blamed for some of the most significant rises in the cost of living.

Overall consumer prices did not change last month but official figures revealed they increased 0.7% in the last year.

Inflation was pushed up by rising bills for power, with household running costs up 9.4% over the last 12 months, higher premiums for house and motor car insurance and health costs up 1.1% last month.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said prices charged for clothing and footwear fell due to sales.

Business heads claimed the State-run services were continuing to cost firms dearly.

Avine McNally, director of the Small Firms Association, said: “Irish small businesses have taken harsh steps to regain cost-competitiveness, but any gains are negated by the costs imposed by the government administered sector.”

Mark Fielding, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said: “It is absolute nonsense for the Government to be cheerleading the drive in exports, while at the same time increasing costs on business which only makes it more expensive to trade out of Ireland.

“It is as if the current administration has a death wish for the future of indigenous business and the jobs that these companies are trying to protect.”

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