1. Overview of the cost of living

UK inflation continues to remain at a high level, with a 40-year high recorded in October 2022. This higher level of inflation has continued into 2023 with food and non-alcoholic beverages continuing to be a large contributing factor. The price of these items rose by 16.9% in the 12 months to December 2022, up from 16.5% in November.

The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) rose by 9.2% in the 12 months to December 2022, slightly down from 9.3% in November. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.5% in the 12 months to December 2022, down from 10.7% in November. More information can be found in our Consumer price inflation, UK: December 2022 bulletin.

Our previous release The cost of living, current and upcoming work: September 2022 article provided information about work produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that relates to the cost of living. This article provides an update, outlining our progress since September, as well as our upcoming and new analytical work.

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2. Our current position

Since September, we have continued to provide new analysis on the impact of the rising cost of living through a range of different data sources. We have also published our regular suite of statistics, which provide insights into the rising inflation. Examples of work from the last four months includes:

  • the launch of our interactive Cost of Living latest insights tool, which provides an overview of the latest data and trends about the cost of living; users can explore changes in the cost of everyday items and how these changes are affecting people
  • releasing experimental statistics from our new Student Cost of Living Insights Study (SCoLIS) which aims to understand the behaviours, plans, opinions and well-being of higher education students compared with the adult population of Great Britain (as surveyed by the OPN)
  • continuing to publish our regular cost of living newsletter and social media thread, pulling together relevant research and analysis from the ONS and across government; to subscribe, please visit our sign-up page and select "Cost of living newsletter" under our subscription topics
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3. Upcoming work

Real-time indicators: impacts on business and individuals, energy consumption and costs

We will continue to monitor the impacts of rising prices and winter pressures felt by individuals and businesses through our real time surveys: the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) and the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS). Both surveys provide fortnightly insights on how individuals and businesses are feeling in relation to rising costs, as well as actions they are taking to mitigate these costs. We review the questions on both surveys regularly to ensure that they are appropriate and useful for our users.

While these surveys provide regular insights at a more aggregated level, we are committed to understanding the disproportionate effect that rising prices have on particular groups. We will continue to produce quarterly estimates to look at different groups using pooled data from the OPN in our Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain articles.

Following initial releases from the new winter survey, upcoming work will include a regression analysis looking at which groups of the population are more likely to experience energy insecurity and food insecurity. We will also publish a longitudinal analysis looking at how the experiences of the same group of adults have changed between late 2022 and early 2023.

We are continuing to expand our suite of real-time indicators published weekly through our Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators bulletin, with the focus of adding more indicators that provide commentary on rising costs. We are developing indicators using smart meter data, which will help inform how electricity consumption habits are changing because of these pressures.

Prices transformation: using transaction, scanner, and administrative data

We are currently undertaking a programme of transformation across our consumer price statistics. We will use data from the Rail Delivery Group on rail ticket sales in our headline measures of consumer prices from March 2023. These data will increase the number of rail fare price points to around 30 million from an aggregated single annual estimate produced by the Office of Rail and Road.

The historic impact on headline data would have been small. However, these data will also provide insights into the reasons behind changing prices and the potential to better understand trends as we will be producing six new indices by fare type. We published an impact analysis on the transformation of UK consumer price statistics ahead of including these data in headline consumer price statistics from February 2023 (published in March 2023).

We are continuing to transform the way we measure prices to understand people's spending patterns in a more detailed and timely manner. For example, we work with supermarkets to use scanner (point-of-sale) data in our measurement of grocery prices. For more information, see our Transformation of consumer price statistics: April 2022 article.

We have been developing web-scraping capabilities, as part of our consumer prices transformation. This has allowed us to use supermarket data, alongside new and experimental methods, to capture price changes of everyday grocery items in our Tracking the price of the lowest-cost grocery items, UK, experimental analysis: April 2021 to September 2022 article.

We will continue to update our personal inflation calculator and we will build additional interactive tools to help users understand how inflation affects them.

Income, spending and wealth

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is seeking to transform household financial statistics, covering income, expenditure, and wealth of UK households. Our aim is to ensure that the household financial statistics and analysis we produce continue to meet the evolving needs of policymakers, citizens, and other data users. Our ambition is that our statistics and analysis should provide inclusive, coherent, timely and granular insights into wider aspects of the financial well-being of households with improved coverage and accuracy. More information on our plans for household financial statistics transformation can be found in our Household Financial Statistics Transformation (HFST) consultation document (PDF, 763KB) and our accompanying blog. An opportunity to give us your views can be found in our online consultation, which closes on 23 February 2023.

To support our regularly published data from Revolut within our Economic activity and social change in the UK bulletin, an upcoming release will use financial transactions card spending data to assess how discretionary spending over a period covering Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day compares with previous years. This in-depth analytical article will investigate whether factors including the rising cost of living, rail strikes, and adverse weather caused any potential changes in consumer behaviours over the festive period. It will be published on the 21 February 2023.

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4. Future developments

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is committed to providing evidence and analysis to central government, devolved administrations and the public about the impact these factors are having across the population. Through the wide range of available data, and developments in how we gather and analyse it, we will continue to ensure our evidence provides clear insights into the impacts of the rising cost of living.

We will continue to update on our progress approximately three months from the date of publishing.

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5. Provide feedback

We welcome users' views about ideas for statistics and analysis, identification of gaps, offers of data, and expertise to further develop our work. Please email us at coordination@ons.gov.uk.

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6. Publication schedule for February to April 2023

Regular publications we publish related to the cost of living:

Non-regular and ad-hoc publications related to the cost of living:

Non-regular and ad-hoc publications related to the cost of living with no confirmed publication date:

  • Cost of living and higher education students (February 2023 provisional date)

  • How debt has affected people over Winter (February 2023 provisional date)

  • The recent drivers of food and drink producer price inflation in the UK (March 2023 provisional date)

  • Tracking the impact of winter pressures in Great Britain (March 2023 provisional date)

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7. Cite this article

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 8 February 2023, ONS website, article, The cost of living, current and upcoming work: February 2023

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Erthygl

Emily Hinson
Ffôn: +44 1633 851821