By Daniel Hunter

In its first bi-annual review, research by Halifax has revealed that families are now facing the most expensive costs for filling their spare time in over a decade.

When family funds are likely to be more squeezed than ever, the cost of ten out of the eleven leisure activities included in the report have increased more rapidly than the rise in consumer price inflation (29%) over the same period.

"There has been a significant rise in the cost of pursing some of the most popular hobbies and days out in the UK over the past decade," Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, commented.

"Rising transport costs have been a clear driver behind this, although all expenditure categories, apart from gardening, have seen a greater increase than that of inflation.

"Whilst the expected decline in inflation through much of 2012 will help to ease some of the current pressure on household finances, weak earnings growth is likely to constrain the amount families are able to spend in entertaining the family over the coming months."

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