Londoners resist lure of small screen

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PEOPLE watched an hour a week less television last year but the North-South divide in viewing habits persists. Londoners watch five hours less a week than viewers in parts of Scotland.

The weekly average last year was 25.7 hours, down from 26.7 in 1992, according to the survey's analysis of living standards. Londoners are the least addicted, watching 22.9 hours a week, compared with 28.4 hours in Central Scotland. People in the South and the South-east of England also watch relatively little television - 23.3 hours weekly - against about 26 hours for viewers in the North- west and North-east.

As a proportion of income, households in the South-east and South-west spent the most - 19 per cent - on housing. In Northern Ireland the figure was 11 per cent. But people in Northern Ireland spent the most, proportionately, on food and Northerners the most on alcohol and tobacco.

The cheapest houses in England last year were in the North, where the average price was pounds 49,300. The most expensive were Greater London ( pounds 78,400). The average house price in Northern Ireland was pounds 38,900 and in Scotland, pounds 49,600.