The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 0.7% in September 2020, up from 0.5% in August 2020.
The largest contribution to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate in September 2020 came from recreation and culture (0.31 percentage points).
Transport costs, and restaurant and café prices, following the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, made the largest upward contributions (of 0.23 and 0.21 percentage points, respectively) to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between August and September 2020.
This was partially offset by smaller downward contributions from furniture, household equipment and maintenance; games, toys and hobbies; and food and non-alcoholic beverages.
The number of CPIH items that were unavailable to UK consumers in September remained at eight from August; one item was reintroduced, however, because of updated travel restrictions, another item is no longer available to consumers, as detailed in Table 58 of the Consumer price inflation dataset.
These items account for 1.1% of the CPIH basket by weight and made a small upward contribution of 0.01 percentage points to the change in the CPIH 12-month rate; for September, we have collected a weighted total of 90.2% of comparable coverage collected previously (excluding unavailable items).
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 0.5% in September 2020, up from 0.2% in August.
|CPIH Index |
|CPI 12- |
|CPI 1- |
Download this table Table 1: CPIH, OOH component and CPI index values, and 12-month and 1-month rates.xls .csv
The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 0.7% in September 2020, up from 0.5% in August 2020.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month inflation rate was 0.5% in September 2020, up from 0.2% in August.
The CPIH and CPI both rose by 0.4% between August and September 2020, compared with a rise of 0.1% between the same two months of 2019.
Given that the owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH) component accounts for around 16% of the CPIH, it is the main driver for differences between the CPIH and CPI inflation rates.Back to table of contents
Figure 2 shows the extent to which the different categories of goods and services have contributed to the overall Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate over the last two years.
The increase in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate can mainly be attributed to changes in both the transport group and restaurants and hotels group between August and September.
This month, transport had an upward contribution for the first time since March. The change in contribution was a result of a larger upward contribution from the purchase of second-hand cars, where prices have potentially been boosted by increased demand as people, reportedly, look to reduce their reliance on public transport. There were also reductions in the size of the downward contributions from both airfares and, to a lesser extent, the operation of personal transport equipment (including fuels and lubricants). Average petrol prices stood at 113.3 pence per litre in September 2020, up from 113.1 pence in August but below 127.3 pence recorded in September 2019. Average diesel prices were 118.2 pence per litre in September, compared with 131.8 pence a year ago.
During the last two years, the contribution from transport has shown more variation than any other group, ranging from an upward contribution of 0.75 percentage points in August 2018 to a downward contribution of 0.20 percentage points in May 2020. Much of the movement comes from changes in the price of motor fuels, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, though contributions from air fares and second-hand cars have also changed noticeably over the period.
The downward contribution from the restaurants and hotels group fell to 0.07 percentage points in September (from 0.27 percentage points in August) reflecting the end of the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Under this scheme, consumers were able to receive a 50% discount (up to a maximum of £10 per diner) on food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August at participating establishments. Where outlets have continued an unofficial Eat Out to Help Out scheme in September, we have continued to reflect this discount if the latest scheme exactly matches the conditions of the Chancellor’s original scheme.
Over the last 10 years, the largest contribution to the annual CPIH inflation rate came from either housing and household services or transport. However, this changed in April 2020 because of a combination of reduced household utility bills and falling motor fuel prices. Since then, the largest contribution has come from recreation and culture. The contribution from this group increased between March and April 2020, when prices for data-processing equipment, computer games, games consoles and children’s toys rose – unlike the March to April falls observed in recent years – partly as a result of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The contribution from recreation and culture has fluctuated since then, partly dependent on price movements for computer games and consoles both in 2020 and the equivalent months in 2019. In September 2020, the contribution fell to 0.31 percentage points, a decrease of 0.04 percentage points from August.
Between November 2018 and March 2020, the largest upward contribution to the CPIH inflation rate came from housing and household services. However, this group’s contribution fell from 0.51 percentage points in March 2020 to 0.16 percentage points in April, predominantly because of the introduction of the latest Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) energy price cap. Since April, the contribution from housing and household services rose gradually to 0.20 percentage points in August, before falling slightly to 0.19 percentage points in September.Back to table of contents
Figure 3 shows how each of the main groups of goods and services contributed to the change in the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate between August and September 2020. The corresponding figures for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) can be found in column F of Table 26 in the Consumer price inflation dataset.
This largest upward contribution (of 0.23 percentage points) to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between August and September 2020 came from transport. Over half of the upward contribution came from airfares. Prices overall fell between August and September 2020 but, given the unusual fall last month, they fell by less than between the same two months a year ago. While travel restrictions are in place, we are following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice on countries and territories that are exempt from advice against “all but essential” international travel. For all international travel and holiday destinations price collection, we are only including travel to countries exempt from FCDO restrictions within our samples.
There were further smaller upward contributions from the purchase of vehicles (0.05 percentage points) and operation of personal transport equipment (0.04 percentage points). The contribution from the purchase of vehicles was solely because of second-hand cars, where prices have risen by 2.1% between August and September 2020, compared with a 1.4% fall between the same two months a year ago. This is widely reported to be because of increased demand for used cars as people seek alternatives to public transport.
The upward contribution from fuels and lubricants came from a small rise in fuel prices, where prices fell a year ago. Petrol prices rose by 0.2 pence per litre between August and September 2020, to stand at 113.3 pence per litre, and diesel prices increased by 0.1 pence per litre, to stand at 118.2 pence per litre. In comparison, between August and September 2019, petrol and diesel prices fell by 1.0 and 0.8 pence per litre, to stand at 127.3 and 131.8 pence per litre, respectively. There was a further small upward contribution from maintenance and repairs, where the cost of roadside recovery services increased between August and September but was unchanged between the same two months a year ago.
The second largest upward contribution (of 0.21 percentage points) came from restaurants and hotels. Within this group, an upward contribution (of 0.30 percentage points) came from catering services, where prices rose by 4.1% between August and September 2020, compared with a rise of 0.2% between the same two months in 2019. The rise this year reflects the end of the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which affected the prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks in participating restaurants, pubs and cafés on Mondays to Wednesdays during August. Despite September’s price rise, the 5.7% fall in prices between July and August 2020 has not entirely been reversed with a continuing effect from the temporary reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 20% to 5% on the hospitality sector and, to a lesser extent, a small number of outlets choosing to continue discounting food and non-alcoholic drinks through unofficial Eat Out to Help Out schemes. Where outlets have continued an unofficial Eat Out to Help Out scheme in September, we have reflected this discount if the latest scheme exactly matches the conditions of the Chancellor’s original scheme. The upward contribution from restaurants and hotels was partially offset by a large downward contribution (of 0.09 percentage points) from accommodation services, in particular hotel overnight stays, where prices fell by 5.5% between August and September 2020, compared with a 7.7% rise between the same two months a year ago.
The largest downward contribution (of 0.05 percentage points) to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between August and September came from furniture, household equipment and maintenance, where overall prices rose by 0.2% between August and September this year, compared with a larger rise of 1.1% between the same two months a year ago. There were downward contributions across the broad group, especially from furniture, furnishings and carpets as well as glassware, tableware and household utensils.
The second largest downward contribution (of 0.04 percentage points) came from recreation and culture. Prices, overall, rose by 0.2% between August and September 2020, compared with a larger rise of 0.5% between the same two months a year ago.
Within this product group, the main downward contributions came from games, toys and hobbies (0.08 percentage points), particularly computer games, and package holidays (0.03 percentage points). Prices for computer games have tended to rise in the autumn as new games are released ahead of Christmas, which was the case in 2019. However, between August and September 2020, prices for most computer game items have either fallen or only increased slightly, which could be a result of game releases being delayed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or fewer new releases for the current game consoles ahead of the release of the next generation platforms in November. Child’s pre-school activity toys and plastic dolls also had small downward contributions. Prices for package holidays, in particular self-catering and late-booked holidays, fell between August and September compared with rises between the same two months a year ago.
There was a partially offsetting upward contribution from data-processing equipment, in particular PC peripherals and computer software. Prices for both item groups rose between August and September compared with price reductions between the same two months a year ago. For PC peripherals, we have observed stock shortages, particularly for printers and web cameras, since April, which may have impacted on prices.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages produced a downward contribution of 0.04 percentage points as prices fell by 0.7% between August and September this year, compared with a smaller fall of 0.2% a year ago. There were small downward contributions from a range of food classes including fruit; milk, cheese and eggs; vegetables (including potatoes and tubers); sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionary; and fish. These downward contributions were partially offset by a 0.03 percentage point upward contribution from bread and cereals, where prices overall fell this year by less than a year ago. There were notable contributions from items such as chocolate biscuits, dried potted snacks, and sugar- or chocolate-coated breakfast cereals.
Finally, there was a small downward contribution (of 0.02 percentage points) from miscellaneous goods and services. The downward contributions came from across the range of appliances and products for personal care as well as jewellery, clocks and watches. There was a partially offsetting upward contribution from mortgage arrangement fees, which increased between August and September 2020 but were unchanged between the same two months a year ago.
Overall, the number of CPIH items that were unavailable to UK consumers in September remained at eight with one item being reintroduced; however, the latest travel restrictions introduced in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant a separate item was no longer available to consumers. In total, these made a small upward contribution of 0.01 percentage points to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate. None of the imputed items individually made a significant contribution to the change in the rate.Back to table of contents
Figure 4 shows the contribution of owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH) and Council Tax to the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate in the context of wider housing-related costs.
In April 2020, the contribution of housing components to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate fell to its lowest level since November 2010. The fall in contribution in April 2020 was the result of reduced contributions from electricity, gas, liquid fuels, water supply and sewerage collection. In September 2020, the downward contribution to the CPIH 12-month rate from these five items was unchanged from August (and little changed from April), at 0.23 percentage points. However, the contribution of housing components in total to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate rose by 0.03 percentage points between April and September, principally as a result of rises to average charges for registered social landlord (RSL) rents in July.
Looking across a longer timeframe, the contribution from OOH had been on a downward trend from a high in October 2016. However, it has stabilised since early 2018 and made the largest contribution to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate from all the housing and household services categories throughout most of 2019 and into 2020. The measurement of OOH uses the rent paid for an equivalent house as a proxy for the costs faced by an owner occupier. It includes the rents paid for all lets, not just new lets, so that changes in rents take longer to feed through than in the case of measures based on new lets only.
Electricity, gas and other fuels made a negative contribution during 2015 and 2016, but subsequent rises, most notably in electricity prices, saw the contribution turn positive through 2017 and into 2018. Further electricity and gas price rises in summer and autumn 2018 increased their contribution to the CPIH 12-month rate.
The introduction of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets’ (Ofgem’s) initial energy price cap resulted in reduced contributions to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate for January to March 2019. However, the contribution increased in April 2019 as energy providers responded to Ofgem’s subsequent raising of the price cap. There was a negative contribution from electricity, gas and other fuels between October and December 2019, before the price reductions in January 2019 unwound leading to an upward contribution from January 2020.
The latest price cap, introduced on 1 April 2020, saw prices of electricity rise slightly (by 0.2% on the month) and gas prices fall by 3.5%, compared with larger electricity and gas price rises of 10.9% and 9.3% respectively in April 2019.
The increases in Council Tax that started in 2016 caused its contribution to rise over the following few years, but there was little change when the 2019 increases were introduced in April last year and a slight easing in the contribution in April this year.
The reduction in the contribution from rents between 2016 and 2018 is likely to be a result of a policy to reduce social housing rent. The contribution from rent in total, though, has subsequently risen since early 2018.
Other housing costs (namely, regular maintenance and repair, along with water and sewerage services) tend to make small contributions to the 12-month inflation rate. The contribution from water and sewerage services turned negative in April this year when bills were reduced as a result of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) encouraging suppliers to reduce household bills.Back to table of contents
Consumer price inflation tables
Dataset | Released 21 October 2020
Measures of monthly UK inflation data including the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Retail Prices Index (RPI). These tables complement the consumer price inflation time series dataset.
Consumer price inflation time series
Dataset | Dataset ID: MM23 | Released 21 October 2020
Comprehensive database of time series covering measures of inflation data for the UK including the CPIH, CPI and RPI.
Consumer price inflation
Consumer price inflation is the rate at which the prices of goods and services bought by households rise or fall. It is estimated by using price indices. Consumer price indices, a brief guide gives an overview of the indices and their uses.
12-month inflation rate
The most common approach to measuring inflation is the 12-month inflation rate, which compares prices for the latest month with the same month a year ago. In any given month, the 12-month rate is determined by the balance between upward and downward price movements of the range of goods and services included in the index.
Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH)
The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) is the most comprehensive measure of inflation. It extends the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to include a measure of the costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in one’s own home, known as owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH), along with Council Tax. Both of these are significant expenses for many households and are not included in the CPI.
Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
The CPI is a measure of consumer price inflation produced to international standards and in line with European regulations. First published in 1997 as the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), the CPI is the inflation measure used in the government’s target for inflation.
Retail Prices Index (RPI)
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) does not meet the required standard for designation as a National Statistic. In recognition that it continues to be widely used in contracts, we continue to publish the RPI, its subcomponents and RPI excluding mortgage interest payments (RPIX). To view the all-items RPI and 12-month inflation rate, please see the time series section of the inflation and price indices area of our website.
The UK Statistics Authority recommended in 2019 that the publication of the RPI should be stopped at a point in the future and that in the interim, the shortcomings of the RPI should be addressed by introducing CPIH data sources and methods into its production. The Authority and HM Treasury subsequently launched a consultation on 11 March 2020 on the Authority’s proposal to address the shortcomings of the RPI. HM Treasury consulted on the appropriate timing for the proposed changes to the RPI to take place. The Authority consulted on how to make its proposed methodological changes to the RPI in a way that follows best statistical practice. The consultation closed on 21 August, and a response will be provided during autumn 2020.
Alongside the consultation on the future of the RPI, we published proposed updates to our article on the three “use cases” for our consumer inflation measures in Measuring changing prices and costs for consumers and households, proposed updates: March 2020.Back to table of contents
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are working to ensure that we continue to publish our consumer price statistics. In line with the current government guidelines, we are providing Office for National Statistics (ONS) staff with the opportunity to work from home and to avoid unnecessary travel and social contact. We have an established infrastructure, and these changes will not impact on our ability to produce our Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Retail Prices Index (RPI) statistics.
In April to July, there were challenges around some of our collection activities, as approximately 80% of the price quotes (45% by weight) for the CPIH basket are usually physically collected in stores across 141 locations in the UK. However, in August, our price collectors were able to resume full or partial in-store collections in 128 locations following the approach detailed in our Consumer price statistics: resuming a field-based price collection article. For September, our price collectors were able to complete full collections in 127 locations and partial collections in a further 12 locations. Where we are unable to collect prices locally, prices will continue to be collected over the internet and by phone and email. We will continue to monitor the situation regarding local lockdowns and revert, where necessary, to the online collection of prices. The approach for resuming in-store collections was consistent with Eurostat advice, published in their Guidance note on Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) issues emerging from the lifting of lockdown measures (PDF, 388KB).
For the September price collection, we were unable to collect international rail fares as the sampled destinations are currently excluded from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice on countries and territories that are exempt from advice against “all but essential” international travel. This means that the number of items normally in the basket that were unavailable to consumers in September was eight with one item being reintroduced but international rail fares being no longer available to consumers. The unavailable items account for 1.1% of the CPIH basket by weight. This remains a substantial reduction from the 67, 74 and 90 unavailable items for June, May and April respectively. The list of unavailable items in September, and the changes to the list from previous months, are shown in Table 58 in the Consumer price inflation dataset.
The Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices article describes the approach we have taken for imputing price movements for items that are currently unavailable to consumers to purchase. For unavailable items in the RPI, we have imputed price movements based on the all-available-items price movement of the RPI (annual or monthly, depending on whether the series is seasonal or not), and for the CPIH and CPI we have imputed price movements based on the all-available-items price movement of the CPI. It is necessary to use the CPI price movement for both, so that both CPIH and CPI are constructed from the same set of item indices.
It should be noted that following the publication of the Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices article, we changed the imputation methodology applied to four items from a non-seasonal to a seasonal method. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these changes not being reflected in Annex B of the article. The affected items are (in item number order):
- NHS dental charges (520327)
- Admission to historic monuments (640211)
- Football admissions (640221)
- Part-time leisure classes (640228)
Overall, the number of price quotes that are usually collected in store and that are used in constructing the September 2020 indices was 91.4% of the number of price quotes collected in February 2020 (excluding unavailable items). It is not unusual for the proportion of quotes to be below 100% as there are often prices that are either temporarily missing or where the price for a non-comparable replacement item is collected. For this reason, we have compared the coverage in September to the February index collected before the social distancing policies and movement restrictions came into effect.
The price quotes collected by ONS staff or from administrative data account for approximately 20% of the price quotes in our CPIH sample. Once all price quotes have been weighted together, the overall coverage for goods and services available in September 2020 was 90.2% of the comparable coverage collected previously (excluding unavailable items). Unlike the in-store collection, where coverage is based on the number of quotes compared with the February collection, the coverage of holiday items (whose prices are collected centrally by ONS staff) uses the number of price quotes collected in the latest month compared with the number collected in the same month last year. This was more appropriate for the coverage of holidays as the number of quotes collected in the summer months will always be greater than in February.
For September 2020, in addition to the eight unavailable items in the CPIH basket, we identified two other items where, although available in theory, price collection had proved largely impossible, so we imputed the price movement. The categories where the number of price quotes used in constructing the indices is less than half the number used in February have been identified in relevant tables in the accompanying dataset, for example, in Table 3.
We continue to engage with other National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) and international organisations to understand how they are responding to similar issues. Under Section 21 of the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007, the Bank of England must make a determination on any changes to the coverage or basic calculation of the RPI that we propose, to establish whether such a change “constitutes a fundamental change in the index which would be materially detrimental to the interests of the holders of relevant index-linked gilts”. We shared our plan with the Bank of England, and they determined that none of the temporary changes outlined “were both fundamental changes to the coverage or basic calculation of the RPI, and also materially detrimental to the holders of relevant index-linked gilts”. The correspondence is available.
Coronavirus supplementary analysis
The Consumer prices alternative basket analysis, which explored different methods of dealing with unavailable goods and services in consumer price inflation measurement, has been discontinued. There are now relatively few unavailable items, so experimental series that update the baskets to remove unavailable items would result in an annual growth rate equal to the official rates.
Eat Out to Help Out and reduction in VAT
Following the Chancellor’s announcement of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to encourage people to return to eating out, we have reflected this discount within the consumer price inflation measures for August 2020. We collect the price for a range of restaurant items, for example, a pub hot meal, restaurant main course and restaurant sweet course so, once confirming that the sampled restaurant or pub is participating in the scheme, we have applied the discount to individual items.
In Section 9.2: Subsidies and discounts of the Consumer Prices Indices Technical Manual, 2019, we state that “discounted and subsidised prices are only recorded if available to anyone with no conditions of sale, otherwise the non-discounted or unsubsidised price is recorded”. We want to ensure that the prices used in calculating consumer price indices are those actually paid by households. In this instance, the discount has been applied to all eligible items (meals and non-alcoholic beverages) available for consumption on the premises (that is, not takeaway food).
Having discussed the application of the discount at our Technical Advisory Panel for Consumer Price Statistics (APCP-T), we have applied a reduced rate of discount to individual eligible items to reflect the fact the price is only discounted between Monday and Wednesday. In essence, we have collected the full menu price, adjusted that to calculate the price paid on Monday to Wednesday, and then weighted together the reduced and full prices to reflect the average over the week. In some cases, the menu price already reflected the discount. For these, we have calculated the full price and again averaged over the week. We have used daily card transactions data from the fintech Revolut to inform the adjustment to average prices. The methodology that we have used is detailed in the Consumer price statistics: resuming a field-based price collection article, albeit the article considered weighting together discounted and full prices based on the number of days in the week whereas card transactions data have now been used.
Having further reviewed the basket of goods and services during the collection, we have calculated that approximately 2.9% of the CPIH basket (which rises to 3.6% for the CPI) could have the discount applied subject to establishments taking part in the scheme.
For September, some outlets have continued an unofficial Eat Out to Help Out scheme offering a discount to customers at their own cost without making a claim to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We have continued to reflect these discounts if the latest scheme matches the conditions of the Chancellor’s original scheme.
We also continue to reflect any change in price resulting from the temporary Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction for food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions in the consumer price inflation measures. Further details on the application of the temporary reduction in VAT from the August price collection can also be found in the Consumer price statistics: resuming a field-based price collection article.
Impacts of Eat Out to Help Out on consumer prices
For September, we have also published analysis looking into the effect of Eat Out to Help Out discounting on consumer prices in August 2020. This analysis includes alternative measures of the 12-month inflation rates of the CPIH and CPI removing the effects of Eat Out to Help Out and a small amount of pass through of the hospitality sector VAT reduction.
This is available in Impacts of Eat Out to Help Out on consumer prices: August 2020.
Reinstatement of the UK House Price Index
Following the reinstatement of the UK House Price Index (HPI) in August, with the publication of the April 2020 estimate, the publication of the HPI has now caught up. This month’s (September’s) RPI estimate is correctly based on the August 2020 HPI (the HPI usually lags the RPI by a single month).
Further details on the work programme carried out to reinstate the UK HPI are outlined in the UK HPI to return news story.
Changes to the detailed briefing note
The Consumer price inflation detailed briefing note is a background briefing published alongside this statistical bulletin. The note contains details of the items contributing to the changes in the CPIH (and RPI), details of any notable movements, a summary of the reconciliation of the CPIH and RPI, and the outlook, which looks ahead to next month’s release.
From August 2020, the format of the briefing note has changed to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, in place of the previous PDF. This change is required to support the ONS’s commitment to improving the accessibility of our data. We would welcome any feedback you may have on the new format. Please email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After EU withdrawal
As the UK leaves the EU, it is important that our statistics continue to be of high quality and are internationally comparable. During the transition period, those UK statistics that align with EU practice and rules will continue to do so in the same way as before 31 January 2020.
After the transition period, we will continue to produce our consumer price statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice for Statistics and in accordance with internationally agreed statistical guidance and standards.
These currently include the standard international Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP) system, developed by the UN Statistical Division, and for the CPI, the rules underlying the construction of the HICP, developed by Eurostat in conjunction with EU member states and European Economic Area countries.
The consumer price indices are normally based on prices collected from outlets around the country, supplemented by information collected centrally over the internet and by phone. From April to July 2020, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we collected all prices centrally by phone, email and from websites and used imputation to produce series for some goods and services, as outlined in Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices. For the August index, price collectors were able to resume full in-store collections in 102 of the locations and partial collection in a further 26 out of the 141 locations used across the country. For the remaining locations, which were affected by local lockdowns and collection issues, prices continued to be collected centrally. Consumer price statistics: resuming a field-based price collection describes the principles used in resuming price collection across the country and discusses specific issues arising from the resumption.
The figures in this publication use data collected on or around 15 September 2020.
Consumer price indices, a brief guide gives an overview of consumer price statistics.
The Consumer Prices Indices Technical Manual covers the concepts and methodologies underpinning the indices in more detail. The latest version was released on 18 September 2019.
The CPIH Compendium provides a comprehensive source of information on the CPIH, with a focus on the approach to measuring owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH).
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Consumer price inflation QMI.
Consumer price inflation, updating weights: 2020 was released on 19 March 2020 and describes the latest update of the relative weights of items in the consumer price inflation basket to ensure they remain representative of current consumer spending patterns. A new source of information for some of the underlying low-level weights was also introduced with the February index. Impact of introducing a new data source for shop-type weights on consumer price indices, released on 12 February 2020, describes the change of source that has been made.
Consumer price inflation basket of goods and services: 2020, released on 16 March 2020, outlines the review process for the items making up the inflation basket used to calculate the UK consumer price inflation indices and the changes in the latest year.
Explaining the contribution to change in the 12-month rate (PDF, 37KB) explains how the various types of goods and services contribute to the change in the 12-month inflation rate between the latest two months. The size and direction of these contributions depend on how prices changed between both the latest two months this year and the same two months last year. For example, the price of a product could make an upward contribution to the change in the rate even if it fell, provided that it fell by less than it did between the same two months a year ago.
Users and uses of consumer price inflation statistics provides information about the users and uses of consumer price inflation statistics and user experiences of these statistics. It also provides information on the characteristics of the different measures of consumer price inflation in relation to potential use.Back to table of contents
We have illustrated our future approach to measuring changing prices and costs faced by consumers and households using three “use cases”, along with how they relate to the measures that we currently publish and those that are under development. We have also published proposed updates to the article in Measuring changing prices and costs for consumers and households, proposed updates: March 2020. Specifically, the three cases refer to the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) as our lead measure of inflation based on economic principles, the Household Costs Indices as a set of measures to reflect the change in costs as experienced by households, and the Retail Prices Index (RPI) as a legacy measure that is required to meet existing user needs. Shortcomings of the RPI as a measure of inflation, released on 8 March 2018, describes the issues with the RPI.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: Consumer price inflation enquiries: +44 (0)1633 456900. Consumer price inflation recorded message (available after 8:00 on release day): +44 (0) 800 011 3703