The CSO Household Budget Survey (HBS) published today (21 June 2017) shows a 13.8% increase in the cost of services such as health, childcare and education between 2010 and 2015.
This compares to an increase of just 6.8% in average income over the same time period.
According to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), this is worrying but not an unsurprising pattern. "It is the experience of SVP members that a lack of affordable quality services has made life more challenging for an increasing number of households both in and out of work."
The need to invest in quality, affordable services is a key message of SVP’s recently published Pre-Budget submission.
The HBS shows that expenditure on Housing has increased by 11.3%, with those in private rent spending more of their income on housing costs than those in owner occupied or social housing.
"The implication of rising rents is reflected in the experience of SVP members on the ground who are visiting individuals and households trying to keep pace with unsustainable rents and are continually faced with the threat of homelessness."
The report today shows that one parent households spend a higher proportion of their income on housing than other family types. "This is linked to the stark statistic that 65% of homeless families are one parent families," says SVP.
The HBS also shows that households in rural areas spend more than those in urban areas. This is largely driven by the higher transport costs among those in rural areas. SVP says that it sees first-hand the burden placed on low income individuals and families by high transport costs in rural areas.
The Society says that it welcomes that fuel costs have appeared to remain stable and other basic costs such as food and clothing have decreased.
But it says the HBS shows that low income households spend a larger proportion of their income on these basics. "This highlights the continued importance of income supports such as the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and Exceptional Needs Payment in reducing the financial burden of basic goods and services on low income households."