A new year dawns, but not much seems destined to change, certainly not for the better. As from January 1st, the cost of electricity is yet again on the increase, this time by 2.3%.
Thinking about travelling? Well, the cost of conventional rail travel – commuter, middle-distance and Avant services – is set to go up by an average of 1.9%. The only service not to suffer an increase is the high-speed AVE.
There’s always the car. Well, the charges for state controlled toll roads are set to go up by an average of 1.85%. Or the plane. Well, airports charges are set to go up by an average of 0.9%, these normally being passed on to the traveller.
The co-payment system for medicines comes into force ‘with vigour’ and a new tax on air conditioning units and large refrigerators comes into force, ostensibly on the grounds of taxing greenhouse gases.
The minimum wage has been frozen for 2014 at €645.30 per month and the price of a bottle of butane gas has been frozen for the first quarter and remains at a maximum price of €17.50.
Pensions are set to rise by 0.25%, but for the first time it does not take into account the Cost of Living Index and is based upon the legal minimum allowed under the new reforms. So, with all the increases for everything, the habitual rise in retail prices, it looks like the general public are certainly not going to be any better off in 2014. Not that anyone expected they would be, of course.