Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

Everyone is feeling the pinch with rising costs of fuel, commodities and food. Here on the Costa del Sol, as with most other areas of Spain, prices are hyping up daily.

So I thought I would make a snap Huddersfield/Costa comparison with a short selection of common/popular groceries and daily items. Thanks to a Huddersfield friend for help with this list.

There are lots of farm and market stalls offering a wide range of fresh fruit and veg at competitive prices.

But there is likely to be a desperate shortage of the ever popular olive, as Anadlucia predicts a disastrous year ahead with the worst harvest in living memory, mostly due to water shortage.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the cost of typical household items converted into pounds sterling (£ @ 1.15€ ) for an at-a-glance comparison                            

                                                UK                            Costa                          

1Ltr Milk                                1.25                           83p

1 kg Bananas                          99p                         1.20

1 Med White loaf                    79p                           70p  (Large sliced) 

Potatoes (2kg)                        99p                          1.50

1 kg sirloin steak                  18.70                        12.80  

1 50ml water                          83p                            14p

6 free range eggs                  1.95                          1.04

1 Ltr non-premium     (70cl)  13.70                         5.40  (Ltr!)

vodka – (Glens)

1 Ltr diesel                              1.86                          1.47  (With Govt discount)

1 Ltr petrol                              1.58                          1.30

1 Pack tobacco                       26.40                         6.00  (10 x 50 gram pouch)

(Golden Virginia)

Washing up liquid    (450ml)   75p                             73p       

Morrisons own Butter

 (Utterly Butterly) 1kg              2.49                          7.10 Lidl (Irish butter)

                                                    (There are probably cheaper versions locally.)

MOT average cost                 33.00                        39.50

6 Apples Royal Gala               1.59                            1.25

1 Bottle San Miguel (330ml)   1.00                           80p (Supermarket)

It’s an interesting comparison and we could, of course, have spent ages looking.

We can get a decent bottle of wine in stores at €4 (£3.50). And with a restaurant meal a bottle could cost around €12 (£10.50) and some bars are selling a pint of beer/lager at €2.50 (£2.17).

Generally, it is cheaper living in Spain, assuming finances and personal circumstances are in order.

It can be seen that there is a similarity to the UK with certain items, but alcohol, smokes and some food stuffs, are cheaper.

Had we spent more time, there are bound to be others even lower in cost. There are several Iceland outlets – most products are wildly expensive due to import duties.

Eating out is definitely cheaper here if you look around. For example, there are many smaller places which offer a Menu del Dia (meal of the day), typically £8.25 for a tasty three-course meal with a drink.

There are hundreds of pensioners here who rely upon their State Pension as a main source of income, but with no assurance of the much discussed ‘triple lock’, lots are struggling, especially as the exchange rate is dropping.

But those who are resident can enjoy the public Health Service, which although very busy, patients can see their doctor within days or even hours, by appointment online, to have health issues dealt with quickly. No trolleys in passageways or patients kept on ambulances awaiting attention.

With things back to pre-pandemic times, resorts like Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Benalmadena have had a bumper summer.

Alas there is still a staff shortage in the hospitality and tourism sector. The recently-announced salaries for a waiter – €18,000 – and €19,500 for a cook (pre-tips), does not seem to be attracting people. (Is that low pay?) It could be the extortionate social security costs to employers, or the hefty fines for taking in someone ‘off the books.’

Last weekend the port of Malaga had seven cruise ships dock. More than 12,000 passengers off-loaded with high purchasing power but most of the on-shore attractions and shops were closed due to staff shortages, leaving hundreds of passengers with money in their pockets as they toured the fabulous historic sights.

It’s not all gloom and doom. The beaches are still attracting loads of sunseekers and there are some fabulous events with exquisite food and entertainment being advertised for the forthcoming festive season.

And Malaga is gearing up for staging The Davis Cup there on Tuesday November 22, and then the magnificent Christmas light/music shows.

And the Government has finally come to terms with the ‘terrifying’ drought situation by setting aside €4 billion for a committee of experts to find a solution to the lack of water situation, as Andalucia has 25% dependency on water.

They will be looking at further desalination, underground sources and recycling sewage for agriculture which is desperate at the moment. A tough job with a further month of daily hot sun forecast! Water reserves are now below 25%.

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