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Soya milk and gin added to inflation shopping basket

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Basic mobile phone handsets and children’s swings are out of the official list of products used to measure consumer price inflation (CPI) and gin and bike helmets are in.

Children’s scooters also make an appearance on the list for the first time, as do soya, rice, almond and oat milk to reflect the increase in popularity of dairy-free diets.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses a basket of goods and services to calculate CPI – the rate at which prices rise or fall – and reviews the basket annually.

This year gin has returned to the basket after a 13-year absence due to the rise in consumption (the value of gin sold by UK manufacturers has risen from £126m in 2009 to £239m in 2015), partly thanks to growth in the number of small gin producers and gin festivals.

Thanks to the Olympics and Tour De France effect, greater numbers of people are taking to the roads on bikes so bicycle helmets have also returned to the basket for the first time since 2004.

However, basic mobile phone handsets, which have been superseded by the rise in smartphones, have been removed.

For the first time later this month, the UK’s measure of inflation will change to include housing costs (CPIH) to track the cost of housing services associated with owning, maintaining and living in owner-occupied homes.

Senior ONS statistician, Phil Gooding, said: “The annual basket review enables us to keep up-to-date with all the latest trends, ensuring our inflation measures reflect the changing costs experienced by consumers.

“The addition of council tax to CPIH will ensure it remains our most comprehensive measure of consumer inflation.”

With the growing ‘hipster culture’ of well groomed facial hair, taste for craft beers and sprits and love of up-cycling , the ONS said the CPI measure could include LPs in the future. Vinyl records were removed in 1995 but could return following an increase in sales, the highest in 25 years.

The new basket features around 700 items, of which 16 are new this year, with 11 other items being removed and 8 being modified.

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