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Covering the cost of living in Titanic times

PwC's Northern Ireland Economic Outlook also compared Northern Ireland today with the era of the Titanic back in 1912.

It found that inflation has increased the price of a pint of beer by around 400-fold from its 1912 price of the equivalent of 0.8 pence, while a second class stamp today costs 125 times what it cost in 2012.

And general consumer prices have increased by a factor of about 110 during the 100-year period.

Comparisons across the century also revealed that, in real terms, a gallon of petrol may be cheaper today than it was when the Titanic was launched.

The first state old age pensions were introduced in 1909 by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George; they were means tested and applied only to those aged 70 or above and paid between 5 and 25 shillings (25 pence to £1.25) a week - adjusting for inflation equivalent to between £25 and £123 per week today.

In the same year, the President of the Board of Trade, Winston Churchill introduced wages councils to set floors for pay (i.e. minimum wages) in the "sweated industries" such as clothing and textiles. At that time the average weekly wage varied between, for example, £0.77 for female textile workers and £1.80 in shipbuilding (probably, the highest pay sector).

That compares with £450.60 in 2011 (the Northern Ireland median gross weekly earnings for all full time employees.)


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