Our cost of living is judged partly by a government indices from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that is based around a ‘virtual shopping basket’ – it has almost 400 items within it and is supposed to be a ‘snap shot’ of what the average family in the UK buys day-to-day. Consequently as the cost of items in it changes it should give a picture of where living costs are going for the average British citizen.
It is something that we take on face value, but recent changes to the basket made me look more closely at the items, the list is huge – but there were a few surprises!
New additions to the list are tablet computers and teenage fiction (a good thing as it suggests that kids are actually reading).Tablet computers such as iPads have been added as they represent a “significant and growing market”. Fiction was previously covered by children’s and adult books, but with the growing popularity of many titles aimed specifically at teenagers, they have also been added to the basket on their own.
Rather randomly, glass casserole dishes and step ladders have been removed. Somewhat more worryingly charges for developing film have only just been dropped out. When did you last take a roll of film to be developed? Doesn’t everyone use digital cameras or camera phones now?
Bundled communication packages comprising telephone, internet and television are also included for the first time. The ONS is increasingly collecting prices from large supermarkets as they venture into new areas.
Technology products and services have regularly been added to the inflation basket in recent years. Twelve months ago, the ONS added smart phones and apps. The list can is thought to shed light on changing spending patterns, quite how I am not sure – in 2010, lip gloss and fish fingers were added!
the list actually makes quite a bizarre read, it paints a picture of life in the UK, and some of the items make you wonder!