Latest gadgets and fashionable booze added to ONS list

 
Tim Wallace
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THE PRICE of iPads, cans of stout, and packets of foam sweet will all be included in inflation calculations from now on, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) changes its calculations to reflect evolving spending habits.

Every year the official statistics agency updates its list of 18,000 goods and services in an attempt to provide an accurate picture of the changing price pressures facing consumers.

Some items, like boiled sweets, casserole dishes and certain types of photographic film have fallen out of favour with shoppers, while teen literature, like the Twilight books, fruits like pineapples, and continental soft cheese are all being purchased in increasing numbers.

The weights given to each item in the basket have also been adjusted to reflect changes in spending habits.

Alcohol, for example, has had its weight reduced steadily since the late 1990s, while housing costs increased sharply as a proportion of household spending from 1987 though to 2007, before flattening off.

Efforts have also been made to bring the British measures in line with European standards – the TV licence, for example, has been added to the consumer price index calculation, as have subscription fees for trade union and professional organization membership.

Such changes also bring the CPI closer to the retail price index (RPI), which has traditionally included taxes as well as mortgage interest payments.