The Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) collects information on spending patterns and the cost of living that reflects household budgets across the country.
The study provides information about household spending patterns, which is used to update the contents of the consumer inflation basket of goods and services. It is also used to provide information about food consumption and nutrition. It is an important source of economic and social data for government and other research agencies.
The study is conducted throughout the year across the whole of the UK and is the most significant consumer study undertaken in the UK. The results are essential for understanding society and planning to meet its needs.Back to table of contents
We need high-quality information about individual and household spending patterns and the relationship between diet, nutrition and health.
The study enables us to provide information on changes in spending patterns and the cost of living that reflects household budgets throughout the country.
The study also informs government policy about changes in diet.Back to table of contents
Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to this study.
Obtaining information from as many selected households as possible is the only way we can get a complete and accurate picture of the nation's spending patterns and changes in diet.
By taking part in the study, you will ensure that your experiences and circumstances become an important part of the bigger picture of life in the UK today and will be helping to influence matters that affect us all.Back to table of contents
This section describes the process our study would normally follow. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have made some changes to keep you and our colleagues safe.
Read more about the changes we’ve made in our statement.
An interviewer will arrange a suitable time to visit you to conduct the interview.
All questionnaire data are collected face-to-face using computer-assisted questionnaires.
The interviewer will collect information about how you manage your household finances.
The interviewer will also leave each person a diary to record details of their expenditure.
If there are children in the household they too are encouraged to complete a shorter diary.Back to table of contents
Government departments use the results of the study to identify how and where they should be using public resources.
They use the information to check how different groups in the community are affected by existing policies and to inform future policy changes.Back to table of contents
The Living Costs and Food Survey is being conducted by Office for National Statistics (ONS), the government's largest producer of statistics.
We compile independent information about the UK's society and economy, which provides evidence for policy and decision-making and for directing resources to where they are needed most.
The ONS also plan and run the census in England and Wales. The 10-yearly census, measures of inflation, the national accounts, and population and migration statistics are some of our highest-profile outputs.Back to table of contents
To reflect the importance we place on your assistance, a gift voucher will be sent to each adult person interviewed who also completes their diary.
Children, aged 7 to 15 years, who complete the diary will also receive a small gift voucher.Back to table of contents
Our work is very important and we need your help to make our studies successful. Every year about half a million people help us by taking part in our studies. No-one has to take part if they do not want to, but for us to paint an accurate picture of our society, it is vital that we interview as many people as possible, from all walks of life.Back to table of contents
Yes, UK legislation allows us to collect and process your data to produce statistics for the public good.
Your information will be treated as confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. It will only be held for as long as it is being used for producing statistics. The statistics produced will not identify you or anyone in your household.
Survey information is also provided to other government departments, approved organisations and approved researchers for statistical purposes only. Details on who can access this information can be found on the approved organisations and government departments page and the approved researchers page. All statistics produced will be subject to the Code and the same standards of protection will be applied to your data at all times.Back to table of contents
Households are selected at random from the Royal Mail's Postcode Address File. About 12,000 addresses are selected. Once selected we cannot replace you with another household. This means your participation is very important to the success of this official study in ensuring that all groups in society are properly represented.Back to table of contents
You can read about the commitments ONS makes to those taking part in its studies in our ONS Respondent charter for surveys of households and individuals.
If you have a question about how we process your personal data or want to find out more about your rights under data protection legislation, please see our data protection page for more information and the contact details you will need.Back to table of contents
If you have any queries about taking part in the study, please contact us on +44 (0)800 298 5313. The opening times for the phone line are:
Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm
Saturday 8am to 1pm
We’d appreciate your suggestions on how we can improve this or any of our studies. It would also be great to hear from you if you’re happy with the service you’ve received.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to table of contents