High street chains are operating a North-South ‘price apartheid’ on everything from a cup of coffee to a visit to the cinema.
Many items are considerably cheaper in a northern city such as Hull compared with somewhere like Hammersmith, West London.
The Greggs chain, for example, charges 85p for a large sausage roll in Hammersmith, which is almost 30 per cent more than the 66p it charges in Hull.
A similar pattern is seen with other household names such as McDonald’s, Domino’s pizza, Odeon, Cineworld, David Lloyd gyms, Wetherspoons and Beefeater. Even items such as budget hotel rooms are pricier in the South.
It might be assumed that a chain such as McDonald’s has the same prices across the country, however, a Filet-O-Fish is 10p more in Hammersmith than Hull at £2.49. There is also a 10p mark-up on a large black coffee, taking it up to £1.69.
The snapshot survey has lifted the lid on the extent to which chains apply different prices for the same products and services. The firms insist this is because it is cheaper to do business in terms of rents, rates and staff costs in the North.
The selection of food and drink offered by Wetherspoons or Beefeater is largely the same, regardless of the location. However, a burger or a pint will be much cheaper in the North.
Research found that Wetherspoons' pub, the William Morris, in Hammersmith charges £6.20 for fish and chips, a full £1 more than the same dish at the The Three John Scotts in Hull.
A roast beef dinner is also £1 more at £6.25, while a chicken Caesar salad is 39p more at £5.49. These dishes are identical across the two outlets.
When it comes to beer, a pint of Heineken in 70p more at £3.75, as is Stella at £3.65, while Guinness is 31p more at £3.20. Wine is also more expensive with a large glass of Shiraz Grant Burge, Benchmark Australia 76p more at £4.65.
A similar pattern was found at two Beefeater outlets – The Ketch, at Willerby, which is six miles from Hull, and the Travellers Rest, in Harrow.
A 7oz fillet steak with all the trimmings is £16.49 in London, which is 50p more than the same dish in Willerby, while a 9oz beefburger is also 50p more at £10.99
Even a prawn cocktail, made using the same ingredients, is 30p more at £4.99.
Some of the biggest differences were seen on the price of membership at David Lloyd health clubs. The monthly cost at its Kensington outlet came in at £99.75, which was more than double the £46 for a comparable deal in Hull.
Official figures make clear that people earn considerably more in the south, but housing costs are also vastly more expensive.
The typical median public sector salary in London is £610.70 a week, which is around 50per cent higher than in Hull. However, the average house price in Hammersmith of £550,000 is some 417per cent higher than the Hull average of £106,250.
Consequently, someone with a 60per cent repayment mortgage is likely to be paying £1,829 a month in Hammersmith, compared to £356 in Hull.
(Abridged from an article in MailOnline)