UK inflation basket update: GoPros and quiche in, pork pies and leg waxing out


Quiches, women’s exercise leggings and GoPro cameras have been added to the UK’s representative inflation basket by the Office for National Statistics, while individual pork pies, nightclub lager and leg waxing sessions have been dropped.

The update by the national statistics agency is based on annual surveys of households’ expenditure patterns.

The inflation basket is revised annually to ensure it is representative of what most people in the UK are actually spending their money on, and that goods and services that have fallen out of favour no longer feature.

“Every year we add new items to the basket to ensure that it reflects modern spending habits. We also update the weight each item has to ensure the overall inflation numbers reflect shoppers’ experiences of inflation,” said Philip Gooding of the ONS.

“However, while we add and remove a number of items each year, the overall change is actually quite small. This year we changed 36 items out of a total basket of 714.”

The consumer price inflation rate in January was 3 per cent, according to the ONS, still ahead of the annual rate of average earning growth, meaning real wages are in decline.

Other food items added to the basket in 2018 include raspberries and pre-prepared mashed potato. Thirty years ago dried mashed potato was dropped. Peaches and nectarines are also removed from the latest basket, along with edam cheese.

Services such as adult-supervised soft play sessions are introduced, but the child’s tricycle has been dropped, replaced by newer varieties of junior sit and ride toys.

The GoPro replaces digital camcorders. Other technology introduced this year include digital media players such as the Chromecast and Apple TV, which replace digital TV recorders and Freeview boxes.

Food and non-alcoholic account for 24 per cent of the ONS’s representative shopping basket. Recreation and culture account account for 17 per cent, clothing and footwear 11 per cent and furniture 10 per cent.

Recent research by the ONS suggested it had been overestimating telecoms inflation since 2010 in light of large increases in bandwidth volumes available to business customers, prompting some to claim that this probably applies to consumer price inflation too, meaning overall GDP growth might have been underestimated over that period.

However, the ONS has dismissed such claims are premature.

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