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Scots' food bills among lowest in UK

WEEKLY food bills for Scots households are among the lowest in the UK, official figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics' annual Family Spending report shows Scots spent £51.60 a week on food and non-alcoholic drinks between 2009 and 2011, compared to the UK average of £53.40.

Scotland also had the second- lowest average weekly household expenditure of all UK countries at £440.60 per week.

The figures show that homes north of the Border spent less on education, such as fees and school trips, than their UK counterparts – just £4.60 compared to an average of £8.00.

However, when it came to alcohol, tobacco and narcotics, Scots spent £1.50 a week more than the UK average, coming second only to Northern Ireland residents, who spent £4.80 a week more.

Scottish households also spent less than average on fresh fruit and vegetables.

Overall, weekly spending for UK households rose to a new high last year, with people shelling out over three times more on petrol-related costs than on fresh fruit and vegetables.

Households typically spent around £483.60 a week on their regular outgoings, representing a £10 a week increase compared with 2010 and the highest average expenditure recorded by the ONS. The report showed that, in general, people have cut back spending on new cars, clothing and furniture as costs for other vital outgoings such as rent and household fuels have increased.

Transport costs took up the bulk of expenditure in both Scotland and the rest of the UK, at an average of £65.70 per week, with spending on petrol, diesel and motor oil up £3.30 compared with 2010.

Releasing its findings ahead of Chancellor George Osborne's autumn statement today, the ONS urged the Government to ensure spiralling household costs are kept under control.

Giles Horsfield, editor of the report, said: "The figures reflect the increase in the price of petrol and diesel in 2011. For a lot of households, that kind of expenditure is considered essential.

"There was increased spending on some items which people considered vital, and spending went down in areas where people felt they had a bit of discretion."

Families throughout the UK slashed their spending on new cars to £5.50 a week, a drop of £1 on the previous year. They also spent around £10.20 a week on bus, rail and tube fares, cutting their spending back by £1.90 on a year earlier.

Recreation and culture took up the second-highest amount of families' spending, costing £63.90 a week on average.

The figures show families have stepped up their spending on recreational services such as cinema tickets and sporting events by £2 a week on the previous year, bringing their weekly spend to £19.80 on average.

However, outgoings on audio-visual equipment, including computers, edged down to £6.30, representing a decrease of 90p a week compared with 2010.

Housing, fuel and power took up the third-largest amount of households' spending at £63.30 a week in 2011 – a weekly increase of £2.90.

Within this category, rents rose by 70p to reach £40.60 and average expenditure on electricity, gas and other fuels was £22.10 per week, also representing a 70p rise.

Average household expenditure was highest in London at £574.90 per week, followed by the south-east at £539.30 per week.

Regional weekly spending was lowest among households in the north-east at £384.20, followed by Wales at £398.20 and Yorkshire and the Humber at £410.10.

Contextual targeting label: 
Families

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