Forget filling the coal shed: big cost of keeping warm is now a flight to the sun

Posted on January 29, 2008 

Forget filling the coal shed: big cost of keeping warm is now a flight to the sun

If the key to a nation’s priorities lies in its shopping lists, then Britain has been transformed in 50 years from a society spending mainly on basic food and warmth to one transfixed by the delights of leisure and travel, new figures show.

The usually stern face of official government statistics softened yesterday to offer an anniversary glimpse of family spending habits in 1957 – the year an annual household expenditure survey was first launched in a post-ration book Britain.

The contrasts are telling. Five decades ago families were shelling out a third of their weekly spending on food and non-alcoholic drink, with fresh milk and “undefined meat”, including rabbit and tongue, joining cigarettes and bus fares in the top 10 most bought items. That proportion has dropped to just 15% in today’s era of cheap food.

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