A host of price increases for the new year

The new year is set to start the same way the old one ended, with price increases all over the place. Gas, electricity, transport, petrol and postage to start with. In addition, some benefits will be cut.

Electricity prices are set to rise by an average of 9.8%, natural gas by 3.9% and a bottle of gas, still used by some eight million households, is going up by 3.13%.

Drivers face the new year with the prospect of a litre of 95 octane petrol costing €1.24 (up 13%), the highest price ever, and a litre of diesel costing €1.16 (up 18%).

The cost of driving on toll roads will increase, the rises ranging from 1.16% to 3.43%.

Thinking of not driving because of the increased costs? Well, think again, other means of transport are also set for price increases.

Rail travellers will be paying 2.3% more for AVE and long distance trains, 3.1% more for local and medium distance commuter trains and 4.8% for medium distance and high speed services.

Some public transport systems, bus and metro, will see also see increased ticket prices. In Barcelona, for example, T-10, single bus tickets and metro fares will go up by 3.75%.

One could always take to the air, but then again, airport fees are set to rise in 33 Spanish airports by an average of 3.9%.

Even writing to complain about all the price increases will cost more, between 3% and 11% for domestic post and between 1.6% and 2.6% for international shipments.

Various forms of government help are due to change or end. The ‘baby cheque’ is no more after January 1st 2011, the €420 help for the unemployed who do not receive any benefits ceases in February and tax relief on buying a house stops for those earning more than €24,170.20 per annum.

So, employed or unemployed, stay at home or travel, just about everything is going to be more expensive for the majority of people.

About the only crisis-proof, recession-proof, inflation-proof and just about everything-proof job these days is as a politician. And again, it is the people who pay, one way or another.

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