Annual inflation rises to 3.2%

Annual inflation rises to 3.2%

The cost of living has jumped more than 3% over the past year, official figures have revealed.

Despite moves to make Ireland a cheaper place to live and work, rising car fuel prices as well as health, home and motor insurance hikes are driving up household bills.

Increased mortgage interest repayments and higher home heating oil charges are also making it more difficult for people to make ends meet.

The latest report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed a 3.2% rise overall in the prices of consumer goods and services compared to April last year.

Prices jumped 0.4% last month alone.

Small business group ISME said the rise in year-on-year inflation, increasing to 3.2% from 3% the previous month, is "deeply worrying".

"It is ironic that in the week that we have the announcement of a jobs’ initiative, costs to business continue to increase, putting further pressure on enterprise," said ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding.

“We need a root and branch review of all business costs, in particular, rates, rents, transport, energy and labour costs and a concerted Government effort to reduce them.

"Failure to reduce costs will render the Jobs’ Initiative futile in the battle to tackle unemployment”.

Business group IBEC pointed out that further mortgage increases would add to householder woes in the coming months but claimed inflation would ease later this year.

Fergal O’Brien, the organisation’s chief economist, said planned VAT cuts on tourism-related goods and services would help slow down the overall rising cost of living.

“The focus over the coming months must remain on reducing costs across the economy and regaining competitiveness,” he said.

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