NEWS » Cost of living rises in Italy but bills remain amongst the lowest in Europe

Cost of living rises in Italy but bills remain amongst the lowest in Europe

According to a study by “Cgia” the expenditure for bills in Italy has undergone a crazy increase. Over the past 10 years, rates of key public services have registered a record increase. Water, for example,   increased by 85.2%. Waste rose by 81.8%. The motorway toll costs were up by 50.1%. In the case of urban transport, the trend was similar: 49.6%. The complaint comes from the Cgia, the association of craftsmen in Mestre. Among the ten items considered in this analysis, only the phone services have undergone a decrease in prices: -15.9%. However, during the period considered, inflation increased by 23.1%. In spite of the liberalization that took place in recent decades, which have affected most of these areas, the results obtained were not very satisfactory. Broadly speaking Italians were asked to pay more, but the quality of services didn’t undergo major improvements. However, despite the strong increases the bill rates remain the lowest in Europe.

The same consideration can be made for rail tickets: they are also amongst the least expensive in the EU. The most worrying was, however, the boom experienced in the waste removal expenditure. Although in the past six years of economic crisis the production of waste has decreased, and recycling has increased, families and businesses have suffered the unjustified swelling of prices. The gas increase has certainly been affected by the cost of the raw material and the rate of exchange, also oil prices have contributed to the escalation in the general expenses of the system, in particular for the coverage of the incentive schemes of renewable energy sources. The urban transport increase was, however, conditioned by the cost of fuel and the labour market. It should not be forgotten that many rises in price were also affected by the taxation. 

The last part of the analysis prepared by the study Office of Cgia examined the increase in tariffs of some items recorded in the period from the liberalization up to 2013. The cost of insurance policies on the means of transport have swollen by 197.1% (4 times more than inflation), motorway tolls by 62.7% (1.7 times more than inflation), railway transport, 57.4% (1.7 times more than of inflation), the gas by 53.5% (2.3 times more than inflation), while the postal services have experienced an increase of 37.8% almost equal to that recorded by inflation. Only phone services have undergone a price reduction: -18.8%, against an increase in inflation of 38.5%.

Liberalization has brought few benefits to the pockets of Italian consumers. Also because in many areas the situation has gone from a public monopoly to an oligarchic regime that has betrayed the principles relating to the processes of liberalization. It will be necessary in the future to monitor carefully those areas that will soon be affected by deregulation.  

Giulia Lombardo

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