Measure inflation

Sir, – Don Mullins (Letters, February 21) doubts that inflation has a significant influence on house prices, saying that “incomes have not risen by an average of 3.5%” over the past 20 years . This may well be true for some individuals, but appears to be false for most and false for the population as a whole. On a large scale, we can look at income tax records for evidence. Income tax generated 26.7 billion for the year 2021. The statistical report released by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners 20 years ago shows that income tax (including l income tax) generated 10.5 billion euros for the year 2001, less than half of the current figure. Even taking into account additional taxes introduced during the financial crisis and population growth, these figures suggest that average income levels are roughly double what they were 20 years ago.

For specific examples we can look at the weekly public pension which was €95.89 (£75.50) in 2002 and is now €253.30, or unemployment benefit, which was €118 per week in 2002, and is now €208, or the national pension minimum wage, which was €6 per hour in 2002, is now €10.50.

By contrast, a McDonald’s Big Mac (economists’ favorite cost-of-living barometer) cost €2 in 2002, and now costs more than €4, proving that houses aren’t the only commodity to have doubled in size. price over this period. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN THOMPSON,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – I was cleaning out a friend’s attic and found some stuff wrapped in The Irish Times of 22nd February 1971. The price of The Irish Times was then 7 pence (about 8 cents). I came across stamped envelopes dated February and March 1971. The price of a stamp was 4 pence (about 5 cents).

Last Saturday I paid €3.70 for The Irish Times and €1.10 for a postage stamp to post a letter in Dublin. During this period, The Irish Times has become 46.25 times more expensive and a stamp costs about 22 times what it cost 51 years ago. (Your readers know that the price of a stamp should increase to €1.25 in March).

So I looked at the diary I had kept since I was a poor student and discovered that I was earning £17.05 (about €21.65) after tax in the week ending February 27, 1971 At the Irish Times inflation rate, I would have brought home €1001.31 that week; however, with An Post’s inflation rate, I would have earned just €476.30. – Yours, etc.,

PATRICK CAVANAGH,

Mullingar, County Westmeath.

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