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Leisure pursuit costs on the rise

Families are facing the most expensive costs for filling their leisure time in at least a decade, a study has found.

The cost of 10 out of 11 activities surveyed, including buying football tickets, visiting theme parks, tucking into a takeaway and gym membership, have soared more rapidly than inflation, according to Halifax.

Only the cost of gardening has risen by a lower rate since 2002, increasing by 17%, well below the 29% CPI inflation rate.

The hikes come as families are feeling the biggest squeeze on their spending power in more than a year due to the increased cost of basic goods like food and drink and gas and electricity bills coupled with low wage rises, according to a recent Lloyds TSB report.

Halifax found that the price of an adult Premier League football ticket has risen by 184% in the last 10 years to nearly £50, the biggest percentage increase in the study.

The expense of being able to get away in the first place has also shot up. Car fuel saw the second biggest percentage rise over the decade at 89%, leaving motorists filling up a 70 litre fuel tank little change from £100.

The cost of a return train ticket has risen by 61% over the period to average just over £23, while an adult ticket for a theme park is around £40, a 46% hike.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "There has been a significant rise in the cost of pursuing some of the most popular hobbies and days out in the UK over the past decade. Rising transport costs have been a clear driver behind this, although all expenditure categories, apart from gardening, have seen a greater increase than that of inflation."

Those who like to keep fit may have seen their financial health suffer, as the average monthly adult gym membership has risen by 48% over the last 10 years to reach just under £37.

Takeaway costs have climbed by more than a third to £11 on average, but the cost of eating out has risen by a higher rate of 42%, to reach £20.

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