The UK leisure industry represents businesses as diverse as tour operators and football clubs and is estimated to be worth about ?1.7 billion a week. An analysis of household spending during 2003 revealed that the proportion of disposable income spent on leisure activities is almost identical in terms of proportions of income across diverse socio-economic groups, regardless of whether individuals are in employment or unemployed. In generic terms, individuals will spend 13.5% of their total income on recreation and culture, they will spend 14.3% of their total income on transport and they will spend 9.8% of their total income on restaurants and hotels.
The UK inflation rate was among the lowest in the EU since the start of 2000. The average inflation rate for the enlarged EU 25 for June 2004 was 2.3% compared with 1.6% in the UK. Interest rates rose five times between December 2003 and August 2004 and at 4.75%, rates have now reached their highest level over three years. (Mimi, 2004, 35-38) Whilst consumer inflation remains below the 2% target set by government, interest rates are set to rise to an estimated 5.25% by February 2005.
Downward influences impacting the inflation rate came from price reductions in sales of furniture, foodstuffs and imported goods, plus reduced tariffs for telecommunications and bank overdrafts. Higher prices were evident for fuel and raw materials during 2003 and 2004. In this period services subject to increased costs included mortgages, rising housing costs, cable television and package holidays in Europe, which grew compared with the reductions on offer a year ago.