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U.K. ‘Spare Time’ Costs Soar on Soccer Tickets, Beer

Britons partying during the economic boom or trying to forget their woes in the recession have seen the cost of filling their leisure time soar in the past decade.

Prices for soccer tickets led the surge in the 10 years though March, rising 184 percent to an average 48.90 pounds ($79.35), according to a report published today by Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s Halifax division. Getting away for the day by car or train jumped 89 percent and 61 percent respectively, compared with a 29 percent increase in overall consumer prices.

The costs of 10 out of 11 leisure activities, including buying a beer in a bar, visiting a theme park and going to the cinema, outpaced inflation, the report showed. Only gardening lagged behind inflation, with a 17 percent increase in a decade. With consumer-price inflation now at 3.5 percent, three times wage growth, households may have less to spend on fun.

“Rising transport costs have been a clear driver behind” the higher prices, said Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax. While cooling inflation this year may ease the squeeze on consumers, “weak earnings growth is likely to constrain the amount families are able to spend in entertaining the family over the coming months.”

The Halifax report also showed that the cost of going to gym has risen 48 percent in the past decade. Eating out advanced 42 percent, though getting takeout and watching television doesn’t provide much better value, with those costs up 36 percent and 39 percent.

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