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Stats office updates shopping basket

Spring clean

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DAB radios, satnav systems, and flat-panel tellies are being added to the basket of typical shopping checked by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS creates a list of goods which it then uses to create the Consumer Price and Retail Price Indexes. It checks the prices of these goods every month to create the indexes.

Broccoli and olive oil have been included for the first time this month, replacing Brussel sprouts and vegetable oil. Other new food items include pro-biotic drinks and courgettes.

DAB radios replace the good old radio-cassette player, and small flat-panel TVs succeed portable TVs. Digital processing is included in place of mail-order film developing.

The VHS recorder has been struck off the list, and recordable DVD players added in its place. This month also sees the first time downloads for mobile phones have been included in calculating inflation.

Thanks to a year of gas and electricity price rises, the weighting given to fuel prices increases from 3.3 per cent to 3.9 per cent. Overall weighting for services has increased while that for goods has decreased. Food has fallen from 16.7 per cent to 10.5 per cent, and clothing and footwear have decreased from 7.4 per cent to 4.4 per cent.

Other items thrown out of the basket include blank and pre-recorded VHS tapes, walkmans, 35mm compact cameras, and car CD autochangers.

More from the ONS here (pdf). ®

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