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Britons feeling 'less well off'

Mortgage repayments have hit £735 a month in the UK - 78 per cent higher than they were in 2003.New research, released today by accountancy firm Ernst & Young, also shows that gas and electricity bills have increased by 110 per cent over the past five years, with petrol prices also up by 29 per cent.A combination of the credit crunch and high wholesale energy costs, along with a general inflationary trend, have caused these sharp rises, it is understood.Ernst & Young also said that the average amount left over for each household each month after taxes, bills and other essential costs have been paid stands at 20 per cent - down from 28 per cent in 2003.This means, the firm claims, that Britons feel 15 per cent less well off than they did previously.Jason Gordon at Ernst & Young commented: "Many UK consumer segments are clearly feeling the pinch as big rises in household costs are far outstripping relatively modest wage inflation."

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