Public sector workers such as teachers, nurses, police and firefighters cannot afford to buy homes in seven out of 10 UK towns, the Halifax bank has said.
Halifax arrived at its conclusions by dividing average regional property prices by average annual wages.
It said property was most unaffordable in London and South-East England but property costs were also racing away from wages in other parts of the UK.
Of 517 towns and local authorities surveyed by the bank, 363 (70%) were deemed unaffordable.
Petrol prices have pushed past the 90p per litre mark for the first time this year.
The national average is now 90.28p per litre, having started the year at 88.32p, the AA said.
The lowest figure this year for petrol was on February 1 when it was 86.0p a litre – a price last seen in June 2005.
Average diesel prices are now 93.34p per litre. But the gap between the price of petrol and diesel has closed from 5.26p at the beginning of the year to 3.06p.
Last year, UK average petrol prices hung at around 90p per litre from January 22 until March 15, before soaring more than 4p in a month.
People on low incomes will struggle to keep up with upcoming water rate hikes, a consumer group has warned.
Households across England and Wales face average bill increases of £20 per year when new rates come into force on Sunday.
But the Consumer Council for Water warned that some customers would be harder hit than others.
The average 7% increase masks regional variations in price rises from the different water companies.
Water bills are to go up by seven per cent in England and Wales next year, more than twice the rate of inflation, the regulator Ofwat confirmed yesterday.
Average household water bills
The charges, which come into force next month, mean the typical household bill for water and sewerage will rise by £20 to £312. The Consumer Price Index, the Government’s preferred measure of inflation, is 2.7 per cent.
Consumer groups said many people would “fail to understand” how water companies could put up prices when they are making huge profits and after a year of water restrictions and customer service failures.
Some of the water suppliers imposing inflation-busting increases in bills have some of the worst records for leaks.
Parents are spending up to one third of their weekly earnings putting their children in nurseries or with child-minders.
New research reveals the lowest nursery costs are in the Midlands and the cheapest childminders are found in the North-West.
Parents in London pay the highest prices – up to £400 per week for a child minder, and £200 a week to send a child to a nursery.
Two-thirds of parents say there is a lack of affordable childcare in their area, according to research for the Daycare Trust.
A LOAF of bread could soon cost more than £1 as the cost of wheat continues to rise.
Crop failures have led to a shortage of the cereal.
Bread prices were pushed up in 2006 and a further increase of about 15 per cent is expected, which will raise the cost of a standard white loaf by about 6p.
RAIL passengers will be hit with another above-inflation fares increase next year to make them yet again contribute more to improvements to the network.
First ScotRail tickets will rise by an average of 4.3 per cent from 2 January, but there will be sharper increases for some tickets on GNER and Virgin, whose trains also serve Scotland.
Across Britain, most train operators will increase the price of their capped fares, such as peak-hour fares and season tickets – which account for 40 per cent of the total – by 4.3 per cent.
Other tickets will rise by an average of 4.7 per cent.