THE GRINCH THAT STOLE XMAS


Young FG Launch Pre- Budget Campaign on Youth Rip Off.

Young Fine Gael (YFG) will today Monday 5 December launch a poster campaign to highlight the Rip Off of young people in Ireland. The poster entitled “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” depicts Bertie Ahern (as Santa), Mary Harney and Brian Cowen (as reindeers) removing rather than delivering gifts.

YFG will also launch a cost of living survey based on goods and services consumed by the 18-30 year old age group throughout Europe. Across every sector of consumer spending, Ireland finds itself at the top of the European rip off league. All the main commodities associated with socialising and entertainment in this country are completely over priced using the Eurozone average consumer price index. For example,

•Ireland is the second most expensive country in the Eurozone for alcoholic beverages from off-licences and in restaurants and pubs.
•Ireland is the most expensive country in the Eurozone for non-alcoholic beverages in retail outlets.

Energy costs are far more expensive in terms of electricity and especially in terms of gas for an Irish household than their British counterparts.

•Fairy lights in Ireland are 26% more expensive to run than in the UK.

One of the most damming aspects of the YFG study is in the area of home entertainment goods, mobile phones and CD’s which are among the most popular Christmas gifts. The price differences between Ireland and the rest of Europe are startling.

•Nokia 6020 pre-paid mobile phone costs €99 in Germany but €169 in Ireland.
•Top 40 new release album on CD costs €9.99 in France but €18 in Ireland.
•A shopping basket of home entertainment goods such as Playstation 2, DVD players and digital cameras is 10% cheaper in the UK than in Ireland.

“Young people in this country are the most vulnerable sector of consumer when it comes to price increases. Every sector of consumer activity that young people will engage in this Christmas represents a rip off when compared with the rest of Europe” stated Young Fine Gael Vice President, Elizabeth Munnelly. “YFG are calling on the Government to use this budget to give Ireland’s youth a break by creating an environment where they will no longer be ripped off”.

THE GRINCH THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS

How Young Ireland is being ripped off this Christmas

Introduction

Christmas is the busiest period for consumer spending. In an environment which is already high-cost by European standards, the Irish consumer is a sitting target in an all pervasive rip off culture. Young people are particularly vulnerable and it is in the context of Young Ireland that we focus our attention in the following study.

Each of the headings below sets out a different product which will find itself in the shopping basket of a young person this Christmas. The conclusion that we can draw from this study is that Christmas in Ireland for young people is more expensive than in most other European countries and that the Irish consumer is faced with expensive choices at every juncture this Christmas.

1.Typical Christmas Gifts
(a) Pre-Paid Mobile Phones
An ever popular stocking filler. The Nokia 6020 pre-paid mobile phone retailing in Vodafone stores across the European Union is a case in point of Rip-Off Ireland. The 6020 can be bought in the UK with Vodafone for €129 in Germany it is available for €99, in Ireland the same phone with the same package from Vodafone costs €169.
(b) CD
A new release Top 40 Album in France on CD retails for €9.99, in the UK it costs €14.45 in Ireland it costs over €18.
(c ) Home Entertainment Goods
A comparison of home entertainment goods prices including products such as Playstation 2 consoles, Xboxes, Nintendo Game Cube, Digital cameras, Philips DVD Players had Ireland almost 10% more expensive in this sector than the UK. Home entertainment goods are cheaper in France, Spain, Holland and Germany than in Ireland.

2.Alcohol and Tobacco
Your glass of Christmas cheer in Ireland comes in near the top of the European price table. In terms of off-licence sales the latest survey from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) makes for sober reading. Ireland flew by the UK and Sweden and lies behind only Finland and Denmark. Finland is the only Eurozone country that is more expensive than Ireland in this regard. Ireland is the second most expensive country in the Eurozone for alcoholic beverages from off-licences and for restaurants and pubs.
In terms of the 25 member state European Union, Alcohol and Tobacco consumer prices are higher in Ireland than the EU Average. Irish prices are 12% more expensive than in the UK and 10% more expensive than Germany.
In light of the pre-Christmas road safety campaigns it is noteworthy that Ireland is the most expensive country in the Eurozone for non-alcoholic beverages in retail outlets.

3.Food basket
A recent analysis of consumer prices using a basket of 100 international brands (prices included all taxes) was undertaken in 15 European countries by Eurostat.
Taking 100 as the average European price the price of food products, fruit, meat, fish and vegetables, at the stalls and on the supermarket shelves of Denmark rose by 130,6%. The Norwegians suffered almost as much at 125%. The next worst case is Ireland with 114.5%, Switzerland with 112.8%, Finland with 109.5% and Sweden with 108.6%.
The country that remained closest to the European average was Portugal where the price of food products was a mere 1.0% under the average at 99%. France and Germany also find themselves mid-table with respectively 95.6% and 95.8%.
The Austrians are best off as they spend a mere 93.1% compared to the European average. The Dutch do even better paying 93%, the British 92.9%, the Italians 91.7%, the Spanish 89.3% and the Belgians with 88.9%. And most surprisingly the most fortunate are the Germans whose shopping basket costs 18.4% less than the European average at 81.6%.

4.A “quiet night out” – The Cinema
A night out at the cinema in Ireland is more expensive than in any other Eurozone country. This Christmas, two adults will have little change (€2 to be precise) out of a €20 note for two tickets for the new Harry Potter film, In Belgian cinemas prices are considerably cheaper averaging around the €5.50 mark, in Spain and Portugal the cost is a fraction of the Irish admission fee, ranging from €2 to €4 per person.

5.Eating out (Hotel and Restaurant)
Ireland does not fair any better in the realm of eating out in restaurants and hotel accommodation coming in almost 20% more expensive than the Eurozone average. For example a hotel family meal this Christmas that would cost €200 as a Eurozone average would cost €240 in Ireland, in France it would about €8 less than the Eurozone average but almost €50 cheaper than Ireland.

6.Gas
One of the most spectacular areas of price increase in Ireland this Christmas will be seen in the gas sector for home heating and energy. This Christmas sees a 25% increase in the price of natural gas in Ireland.

7.Electricity
For those of you that want to keep up with the Jones’ this Christmas, fairy lights are 26% more expensive to run in Ireland as they would be across the Irish Sea.
It’s taken for granted by consumers that Christmas time sees the average household using more electricity than usual. The British Gas standard tariff rate for electricity charge across the UK this Christmas is 10.2c cents per kwh, in Ireland the ESB Day Rate is 13.85 cents per kwh.

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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