Belfast Telegraph

Cost of living increases by 2.6%

The cost of living increased by 2.6% last year, official figures have revealed.

The biggest hikes to hit people's pockets included home heating oil, up by 25%, mortgage repayments, up by about 20%, and overall energy prices, up by almost 12%.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the cost of goods increased at a much slower pace compared with the price charged for services - 0.9% to 3.6%.

The office's review for 2011 found the average rate of inflation was 2.6% compared with a fall of 1% for the previous year and the dramatic drop of 4.5% for 2009.

It also looked at the impact of inflation between 2007 and 2011 where education and health experienced some of the largest hikes in price - up by 20% and 14% respectively.

The biggest decreases came for clothing and footwear, which on average fell by 25%, and household furnishings, down about 11%.

The CSO said overall inflation was about 1% in the four years.

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