THE cost of living is higher for families in the countryside than it is for those in towns and cities, reveals a report.
Weekly household expenditure across the UK averaged £470.70 for the years 2009 to 2011 combined, says the Family Spending study by the Office for National Statistics.
But expenditure by rural households (£510.50 per week) was more than £50 higher overall than expenditure by urban households (£458.30 per week).
The study suggests it costs £2700 a year more to live in the countryside than it does in a city.
This is reflected in weekly expenditure on transport, where spending was highest (£77.40 in rural areas and £58.80 in urban areas), and leisure (£68.80 rural and £57.20 urban).
However, expenditure on the housing, fuel and power category was higher in urban areas (£61.30 per week) than in rural areas (£58.30 per week).
There were five regions in which expenditure over this period was higher than the UK average: expenditure was highest in London (£574.90 per week).
This was followed by the South East (£539.30), East Anglia (£497.10), Northern Ireland (£489.40) and the South West (£479.90).
Spending was lowest among households in the North East (£384.20 per week), Wales (£398.20) and Yorkshire and the Humber (£410.10).
The high spending of London households of £574.90 was partly due to the housing, fuel and power category, £91.30 per week, compared with the UK average of £60.30 per week.
Family Spending, the annual report from ONS on household expenditure in the UK, found that in 2011, average UK weekly expenditure rose to £483.60, an increase of £10.00 on 2010.
The 2011 average expenditure is the highest recorded by Family Spending.
Spending was highest on the transport costs category at £65.70 per week, up 80p from the previous year.
Over half of all transport (£36.40) was on running costs, which rose by £3.10 (an increase of 9%, following last year's 14% increase).
The second highest expenditure category was recreation and culture (£63.90 per week).
It showed a small decrease in expenditure on audio-visual equipment (including computers) averaging £6.30 per week in 2011 compared with £7.20 in 2010.
Some types of expenditure decreased in 2011.
This was most notable for household goods and services, which saw a drop of £4.10 to £27.30 – mainly due to a decrease of £2.80 in spending on furniture to £13.80.
The full report can be read here.
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