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Household costs reach new high

The cost of owning and running a home has reached its highest level in four years, driven by soaring energy bills, a study has found.

Homeowners spent an average of £9,393 on household costs annually by January this year, a 2.7 per cent annual rise and the highest figure since January 2008, Halifax found.

Some 89 per cent of the total rise over the year came from a £218 jump in gas and electricity bills, while mortgage payments dropped by about £66. Electricity and gas bills have risen 145 per cent over the past decade to an average £1,653 a year.