Consumer price inflation, UK: April 2022

Price indices, percentage changes, and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation.

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Cyswllt:
Email Chris Payne

Dyddiad y datganiad:
18 May 2022

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
22 June 2022

1. Main points

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) rose by 7.8% in the 12 months to April 2022, up from 6.2% in March.
  • The largest upward contributions to the annual CPIH inflation rate in April 2022 came from housing and household services (2.76 percentage points, principally from electricity, gas and other fuels, and owner occupiers' housing costs) and transport (1.47 percentage points, principally from motor fuels and second-hand cars).
  • On a monthly basis, CPIH rose by 2.1% in April 2022, compared with a rise of 0.7% in April 2021.
  • The largest upward contributions to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between March and April 2022 came from housing and household services (1.27 percentage points), restaurants and hotels (0.11 percentage points), and recreation and culture (0.10 percentage points), with the largest partially offsetting downward contribution from clothing and footwear (0.09 percentage points)
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 9.0% in the 12 months to April 2022, up from 7.0% in March.

  • On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 2.5% in April 2022, compared with a rise of 0.6% in April 2021.

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2. Annual CPIH inflation rate

The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) rose by 7.8% in the 12 months to April 2022, up from 6.2% in March. This is the highest recorded 12-month inflation rate in the National Statistics series, which began in January 2006. The rate was last higher in the constructed historic estimates in April 1991, when it stood at 8.0%. Moreover, the rise of 1.6 percentage points to 7.8% in April 2022 is the largest increase in the annual rate in the National Statistics series. It is also the largest increase in the earlier constructed series, which goes back to January 1989.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 9.0% in the 12 months to April 2022, up from 7.0% in March. This is the highest CPI 12-month inflation rate in the National Statistics series, which began in January 1997. It is also the highest recorded rate in the constructed historical series, which began in January 1989. This is also the largest increase in the annual rate in either the National Statistics series or the earlier constructed series, which goes back to January 1989. However, there was a larger fall of 2.4 percentage points in April 1992, when the 12-month rate was 4.7%. We have recently published modelled consumer price inflation data on an indicative basis for earlier periods. These new estimates suggest that CPI would last have been higher sometime around 1982, where estimates range between approximately 6.5 % in December to nearly 11% in January.

On a monthly basis, CPIH rose by 2.1% in April 2022, compared with a rise of 0.7% in the same month a year earlier. Rising prices for electricity, gas and other fuels resulted in the largest upward contribution to the monthly rate in both April 2022 and in the same month a year earlier.

In April 2022, the CPI monthly rate was 2.5%, compared with 0.6% in April 2021.

Given that the owner occupiers' housing costs (OOH) component accounts for around 17% of the CPIH, it is the main driver for differences between the CPIH and CPI inflation rates. The inclusion of Council Tax and rates in CPIH is the only further difference. This makes CPIH our most comprehensive measure of inflation, and therefore, the commentary in this bulletin focusses on CPIH. But, while the CPI figures differ from CPIH, the key drivers of the 12-month inflation rate are the same where they are common to both measures. Section 5 is intended to focus on the elements of the basket that are unique to CPIH.

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3. Contributions to the annual CPIH inflation rate

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. Together, the contributions from housing and household services, and transport account for 4.23 percentage points, which is more than half of the CPIH 12-month inflation rate. Their combined weight comprises 42.5% of the CPIH basket.

Housing and household services

Housing and household services contributed 2.76 percentage points to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate in April 2022, of which 1.86 percentage points came from electricity, gas and other fuels. This was the largest contribution from any division this month, and the largest contribution from housing and household services since the start of the National Statistics series [note 1]. The contribution rose significantly in April 2022 as a result of price rises for gas and electricity. This follows the increase in the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) cap on energy prices, which changed on 1 April 2022. This followed an earlier rise in the price cap on 1 October 2021, which led to a 1.23 percentage point contribution from housing and household services.

The Ofgem energy price caps limit the price energy suppliers can charge the estimated 15 million households that either use a prepayment meter or are on the "standard variable" energy (or default) tariff. They update the energy price caps twice a year, in April and October, and on 3 February, Ofgem announced the cap levels for the period from 1 April to 30 September 2022. They said that "Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year (difference due to rounding). Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017. The increase is driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last six months, with wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year". The rise resulted in 12-month inflation rates of 53.5% for electricity and 95.5% for gas, compared with rates of 19.2% and 28.3% respectively in the previous month.

Elsewhere within housing and household services, owner occupiers' housing costs (OOH) rose by 2.9% in the year to April 2022. This was the largest 12-month rate in the National Statistics series, which begins in January 2006, and the largest since April 1999 in the earlier historical constructed series, when it was 3.2%. This resulted in a contribution of 0.53 percentage points to the CPIH annual inflation rate.

Transport

Over the past two years, the contribution from transport has varied. It has ranged from a downward contribution of 0.20 percentage points in May 2020 during the first coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, to an upward contribution of 1.47 percentage points in April 2022. This was little changed from the previous month and is the largest contribution from transport since before the start of the National Statistics series in January 2006.

Within transport, the movement has mainly been caused by changes in the price of motor fuels. This category made a downward contribution to the 12-month rate between March 2020 and February 2021, before the contribution turned positive in March 2021, and subsequently increased to 0.70 percentage points in April 2022. This is the largest contribution since April 2010.

Average petrol prices stood at 161.8 pence per litre in April 2022, compared with 125.5 pence per litre a year earlier. The April 2022 price is the highest recorded. The average price of diesel in April 2022, which was 176.1 pence per litre, was also the highest on record. The 12-month rate for motor fuels and lubricants was 31.4%, the highest since before the start of the constructed historical series in January 1989.

The contribution from second-hand cars has also changed significantly since the beginning of 2020. It rose from a downward effect of 0.07 percentage points in January 2020 to an upward pull of 0.15 percentage points in October 2020. From October 2020, the contribution to the 12-month rate gradually fell back to an upward 0.01 percentage points in April 2021. It then rose again to 0.36 percentage points in February and March 2022, before falling back once more in April 2022, to 0.30 percentage points.

The movement from last year comes during reports of increased demand, together with a global semiconductor shortage affecting the production of new cars, resulting in consumers turning to the used car market. Additionally, there have reportedly been concerns in the trade about the supply of second-hand cars because of a variety of factors. These include fewer one-year-old cars coming to the market because of a fall in new car registrations a year earlier, and the extensions of lease contracts and fewer part exchanges caused again by delays in new-car supply. The March 2022 prices economic analysis further considers the growth in second-hand car prices.

Other divisions

A number of other divisions made contributions of 0.5 percentage points or more to the CPIH annual rate. The contribution from recreation and culture of 0.64 percentage points was higher in April 2022 than at any other point since before the start of the National Statistics series in January 2006. Prices grew 5.9% over the year. Restaurant and hotel prices rose by 8.0% on the year, resulting in a contribution of 0.64 percentage points. This was 0.01 percentage points lower than the largest contribution from this division of 0.65 percentage points, which occurred in August 2021. The August 2021 contribution reflected higher price levels compared with the previous year's Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 0.61 percentage points to the annual rate, with prices growing 6.7% on the year. This was the highest 12-month rate from this division since June 2011. Finally, prices for furniture, household equipment and maintenance rose by 10.7% in the year to April. The contribution of 0.57 percentage points to the all-items rate was unchanged from the previous month, and is the highest contribution from this division in the National Statistics series from 2006.

Notes for: Contributions to the annual CPIH inflation rate

  1. The National Statistics series began in January 2006. Contributions data are not available in the earlier constructed historical series between 1989 and 2005.
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4. Contributions to change in the annual CPIH inflation rate

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 March and April 2022. The corresponding figures for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) can be found in Column F of Table 26 in the Consumer price inflation dataset.

The rise in the CPIH annual rate for April 2022 was driven by upward contributions to change from 7 of the 12 divisions, with partially offsetting downward contributions to change in a further three. Of the divisions putting upward pressure on the 12-month rate, three divisions – housing and household services, restaurants and hotels, and recreation and culture – added 0.1 percentage points or more to the rate.

Housing and household services

The largest upward contribution to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate came from housing and household services. In April 2022, the contribution to the annual rate from this division increased by 1.27 percentage points, more than 1 percentage point bigger than any other contribution to the change in the CPIH rate in April. This is the largest contribution to change from any division since the start of the National Statistic series in January 2006.

The effect came predominantly from electricity, gas and other fuels, which added 1.21 percentage points to the annual rate. A further 0.02 percentage points came from water and sewerage services. On average, energy prices rose by 46.5% on the month, compared with a smaller rise of 8.3% a year earlier. More specifically, the price of electricity rose 40.5% on the month, and the price of gas rose 66.8%. This reflects the increase in the Ofgem price cap, which changed on 1 April 2022.

Upward contributions to change from rents and owner occupiers' housing costs (OOH) were partially offset by downward pressure from Council Tax and rates. OOH, and Council Tax and rates, are the components of CPIH that are not included in CPI. These contributions are therefore discussed in more detail in section 5.

Restaurants and hotels

There was also a large upward contribution to change (of 0.11 percentage points) from restaurants and hotels. Overall, prices rose by 1.7% between March and April 2022, compared with 0.7% a year earlier. The upward effect came largely from restaurants, cafes and dancing establishments, where all items in the basket increased in price. This is consistent with the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12.5% to 20% on 1 April 2022. VAT was lowered to 5% for the hospitality sector alongside the August 2020 Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, and remained at 5% until 1 October 2021, when it was increased to 12.5%. The most recent change returns VAT for the hospitality sector to the rate that was in place before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By comparison, between April 2020 and April 2022, restaurant and café prices have grown by 8.4%.

However, it should be noted that many items within this division were imputed in April 2021 because of lockdowns that were in place across the UK. Unavailable items were imputed as described in our Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices article. This means that monthly movements for those items in 2021 reflect imputed index movements and should, therefore, be interpreted with caution.

Recreation and culture

A further large upward contribution to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate came from recreation and culture, increasing the rate by 0.10 percentage points between March and April 2022. Games, toys and hobbies contributed 0.14 percentage points to the change in the rate where overall prices fell by 1.0% between March and April 2022. This is compared with a larger fall of 7.2% between the same two months a year earlier. The movements largely reflect price changes for computer games, which can sometimes be large, in part depending on the composition of bestseller charts. Therefore, short-term movements need to be interpreted with caution. There was a partially offsetting downward contribution to change from recording media of 0.03 percentage points. Here prices fell this year but rose a year ago. Again, price movements for recording media items can be influenced by the contents of bestseller charts.

There were also small offsetting contributions to change in other areas of the recreation and culture basket. There was upward pressure from photographic and cinematic equipment, cultural services, and miscellaneous printed matter, and downward pressure from audio-visual equipment, indoor and outdoor durables, and books.

Other divisions

Food and non-alcoholic beverages provided an upward contribution of 0.08 percentage points to the change in the 12-month rate as prices rose by 1.5% this year. This is compared with a smaller rise of 0.8% a year ago. There were small upward contributions from 7 of the 11 detailed classes, with the largest, meat, increasing the rate by 0.03 percentage points.

Miscellaneous goods and services increased the CPIH 12-month inflation rate by 0.07 percentage points, with prices rising by 0.5% compared with a fall of 0.4% a year ago. The largest contributor was personal care appliances and products, which added 0.03 percentage points to the annual rate. Other services added 0.02 percentage points, and house contents insurance, and other personal effects each added a further 0.01 percentage points to the overall rate.

A further 0.04 percentage points of the change in the annual rate came from communication, with price rises of 3.8%, which were greater than last year's 1.8%. This effect came mostly from telephone and telefax equipment, where many mobile phone providers increased their prices in April 2022.

There was a partially offsetting downward contribution to the change in the 12-month CPIH inflation rate of 0.09 percentage points from clothing and footwear, with the effect coming solely from garments. This came as a result of larger price increases in this class of 2.8% last year, partly reflecting an unusual seasonal pattern of sales and recoveries in 2021. This compares with 0.7% on the month this year.

Unavailable items

For items that were unavailable (based on government guidelines) in the early part of 2021, there were no January base prices. As these items became available again, base prices were imputed in line with the procedures described in our article, Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Consumer Price Inflation weights and prices: 2021.

For the first month in which they became available again, item indices were imputed using the monthly movement in the all-available-items index. Or, for a smaller number of seasonal items, the item indices were imputed using the annual movement in the all-available-items index. The aim was that the indices for returning items had a negligible impact on the all-items inflation rate in the first month of return. This reflects the fact that these services were available only as price levels and did not have price growth associated with them (relative to the January base). Collected prices then started to influence the index in the following month.

Restrictions began easing from 12 April 2021 and, since August 2021, there are no items across the CPIH basket of goods and services that are unavailable to consumers.

However, the 12-month rate depends on prices collected in both 2022 and 2021. In April 2021, national restrictions began to ease in the UK leaving 28 CPIH items being unavailable to UK consumers. The list of unavailable items is shown in Table 58 of the Consumer price inflation dataset.

A number of items affected by lockdown restrictions in 2021 have contributed to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between March and April 2022. These items were imputed in March and April 2021, reflecting their unavailability for consumption. For more information please refer to our Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices article.

Further upward contributions to change from affected items are generally small (less than or equal to 0.01 percentage points in magnitude). In aggregate, the effect was to increase the CPIH 12-month inflation rate by 0.08 percentage points between March and April 2022, and to increase the CPI rate by 0.11 percentage points. The contribution to the 12-month inflation rate in April 2022 for these items was 0.76 percentage points in CPIH and 0.93 percentage points in CPI.

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5. Owner occupiers’ housing costs

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 2022, the contribution of housing and household services to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate was 2.76 percentage points, an increase of 1.27 percentage points from March 2022. This effect came mainly from electricity, gas and other fuels, which are discussed in more detail in section 4.

OOH’s contribution to the CPIH annual inflation rate increased from 0.50 to 0.53 percentage points between March and April 2022, increasing the annual rate by 0.03 percentage points. This is as a result of costs increasing 0.3% on the month compared with smaller rises of 0.1% a year earlier. Actual rentals have contributed a similar amount to the change in the 12-month CPIH inflation rate, of 0.03 percentage points.

The contribution to the annual rate from Council Tax fell to 0.11 percentage points in April 2022, reducing the overall CPIH annual rate by 0.02 percentage points. In April 2022, a £150 non-repayable Council Tax Rebate payment was provided to all households that are liable for Council Tax in Bands A to D in England. There was further funding available for households that need support but are not eligible, and for the devolved countries to administer to non-England households. This rebate is out of scope of CPIH and is therefore not reflected in these figures (more information is provided in section 8). Rather, the fall came as a result of the average Council Tax bill growing less than it did in the previous year: 3.4% this year compared with 4.0% a year earlier.

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6. Consumer price inflation data

Consumer price inflation tables
Dataset | Released 13 April 2022
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 13 April 2022
Comprehensive database of time series covering measures of inflation data for the UK including the CPIH, CPI and RPI.

Consumer price inflation detailed briefing note
Dataset | Released 13 April 2022
The consumer price inflation detailed briefing 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 CPIH and RPI, and the outlook, which looks ahead to next month's release.

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7. Glossary

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: 2017 gives an overview of the indices and their uses.

12-month inflation rate

The most common approach to measuring inflation is the 12-month or annual 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)

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 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. The CPI is the inflation measure used in the government's target for inflation.

The CPI is produced at the same level of detail as the CPIH in the accompanying dataset and data time series.

Retail Prices Index (RPI)

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 data time series section of the inflation and price indices area of our website.

The UK Statistics Authority and HM Treasury launched a consultation in 2020 on the authority's proposal to address the shortcomings of the RPI. From 2030 (at the earliest), as outlined in the UK Statistics Authority response to the consultation, the CPIH methods and data sources will be introduced into the RPI. Also, the supplementary and lower-level indices of the RPI will be discontinued.

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8. Measuring the data

Consumer price inflation historical estimates, UK, 1950 to 1988

On 18 May 2022, we published historical estimates of consumer price inflation, covering the period from 1950 to 1988. This includes new estimates of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) over the period, and improved estimates of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Previously, in December 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published an extended CPIH historical series covering the period from 1989 to 2005. This extended series is an official statistic rather than a National Statistic, reflecting the historical uncertainty around the backcasts. However, there is a user need for a longer series still, and we have therefore published indicative estimates back to 1950 for CPIH divisions. The 1950 to 1988 estimates are indicative, and are for analytical purposes only. They are not intended for official use.

As part of this publication, we have also modelled new indicative estimates for the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) between 1950 and 1988. These updated models account for errors in the modelled CPI historical series between 1989 and 1996, previously identified. This only affected modelled estimates and did not constitute part of the CPI National Statistics series. The error was corrected when the CPIH historical series was published, and users now have a consistent set of modelled indices. For more information, please see the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) historical series: 1988 to 2004 article. The updated CPI estimates also have broader coverage than those previously published.

Personal inflation calculator

To assist individuals in understanding how the rise in inflation affects their expenditure, we have published a personal inflation calculator. It enables consumers to enter the amounts they spend against different categories, and the calculator will provide an estimate of their personal inflation based on those spending patterns. We are also working with our colleagues in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus to create a set of statistics using web scraped data, which will measure the changing prices of 30 essential grocery items, such as pasta, rice, bread and milk.

Analysis of least cost grocery items

On 30 May 2022, we are planning to publish our experimental analysis of price changes for a sample of least cost grocery items. For this one-off project, we have exploited in-house web-scraped data to investigate the price movements for a sample of 30 everyday grocery items, which are commonly bought by households on low incomes. The sample contains a range of products from pasta or rice to milk or frozen vegetables. For each item, the price of the cheapest product has been selected from online shops. This work has been a collaborative project between the ONS Data Science Campus, Prices Division, Methodology and Quality, and the Analytical Hub.

Treatment of the energy bill rebate

On 3 February 2022, the UK Government announced an Energy Bills Rebate package to help households to manage rising energy bills. The details of the rebate are described as follows.

  • “A £200 discount on their energy bill this Autumn for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain. This will be paid back automatically over the next 5 years.

  • A £150 non-repayable Council Tax Rebate payment for all households that are liable for Council Tax in Bands A-D in England.

  • £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax Rebate.

  • The devolved administrations are receiving around £715 million funding through the Barnett formula as usual where UK Government support doesn’t cover Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.”

Decisions on whether to include rebates, subsidies and discounts in our consumer price inflation statistics are not clear cut and are taken on a case-by-case basis. We aim to be consistent with the National Accounts, the Public Sector Finances, and other economic statistics. Decisions are based on international statistical guidance and practical considerations. More information on this is provided in section 9.2 of our Consumer Price Indices Technical Manual.

The formal Economic Statistics Classification decision on the recording of the Council Tax rebate scheme in England (the second component of the rebate) in the National Accounts and the Public Sector Finances statistics was announced on 28 February 2022 in the Classification of the Council Tax rebate in England. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) concluded that there is no reduction to Council Tax liability. Therefore, in accordance with the international guidance, the Council Tax rebate in England should be classified as a payable tax credit. This is specifically a current transfer, paid by central government to households. The available information from the devolved regions is that, where the support packages have been administered, this has been done in a similar way. Therefore, the implication of this decision for consumer price inflation is that the rebate is not part of household expenditure. It should therefore be treated as out of scope of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) and Retail Prices Index (RPI). Council Tax is not included in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

The third component — discretionary funding to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax rebate — is out of scope, as the support is discretionary by definition. It does not represent a payment for a good or service and, as such, has no price associated with it.

The Economic Statistics Classification assessment for the first component of the package, which is the proposed £200 discount on Autumn 2022 domestic energy bills, will be made when more information becomes available. Once the classification decision has been made, we will consider whether it affects consumer price inflation statistics (CPIH, CPI and RPI) and, if so, how the treatment can be consistently incorporated into those statistics.

Weights for consumer price inflation statistics in 2022

In line with usual practice at the start of each year, the expenditure weights used in compiling the CPIH and CPI have been calculated using updated spending information. Normally this would be national accounts Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) data lagged by two years. However, in 2021, we made further adjustments to incorporate some of the larger changes in spending patterns seen between 2019 and 2020. More information is provided in our article, Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Consumer Price Inflation weights and prices: 2021. This approach was consistent with Eurostat international guidance (PDF, 135KB), which stipulated that "the expenditure shares used for the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in year t should be representative of year t-1. This is in line with the overall Laspeyres philosophy of the HICP".

For this year's weights update we adopted a similar approach. We estimated a 2021 dataset by taking the most up to date HFCE data available (quarters 1 to 3, second estimate) and imputing the fourth quarter based on the 2019 seasonal growth. We used the same threshold as in the previous year (25%) to identify Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) classes where there were large changes in spending levels between 2020 and 2021. For these classes, we replaced the usual 2020 data with the 2021 estimate. Also, this year, we gave consideration to classes below the threshold that tended to contain a larger number of basket items that were unavailable because of coronavirus lockdowns (see Table 58 of the Consumer price inflation dataset). Our approach is consistent with the latest international guidance.

The COICOP classes that have been adjusted were detailed in our article, Consumer price inflation, updating weights: 2022, alongside an explanation of the latest movements. As with last year, we made no changes to the weighting scheme for the RPI.

Economic statistics governance after EU exit

Following the UK's exit from the EU, new governance arrangements are being put in place that will support the adoption and implementation of high-quality standards for UK economic statistics. These governance arrangements will promote international comparability and add to the credibility and independence of the UK's statistical system.

At the centre of this new governance framework will be the new National Statistician's Committee for Advice on Standards for Economic Statistics (NSCASE). NSCASE will support the UK by ensuring its processes for influencing and adopting international statistical standards are world leading. The advice NSCASE provides to the National Statistician will span the full range of domains in economic statistics. These include the National Accounts, fiscal statistics, prices, trade and the balance of payments and labour market statistics.

Making our published spreadsheets accessible

We have published sample versions of a selection of consumer price inflation tables, following the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets. It is essential that we aim to improve the usability, accessibility and machine readability of our published statistics so that everyone can make use of them. We have published these one-off sample tables to help communicate the changes we will be making to the consumer price inflation tables over the coming months. When we change to the new format, there will be a period where we will publish the tables in both the new and current formats. This will be along with a mapper to help users to find the information they require in the new format tables. If you have any questions or comments on these sample tables, please email cpi@ons.gov.uk.

Coronavirus

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been challenges around our collection activities. This is because 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. In April 2021, for example, we were unable to collect prices in store. However, we resumed in-store collections from May 2021 following the approach detailed in our methodology, Consumer price statistics: resuming a field-based price collection. For April 2022, our price collectors were able to complete full collections in 97.5% of the locations with partial collections in the remaining 2.5%, supplementing the latter by continuing to collect prices over the internet.

The approach for resuming in-store collections was consistent with Eurostat advice, published in their Guidance note on HICP issues emerging from the lifting of lockdown measures (PDF, 388KB).

Our article, Coronavirus and the effects on UK prices, describes the approach taken for imputing price movements for items that were unavailable for consumers to purchase.

Methodology information

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. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we collected all prices centrally in April 2021, but our price collectors have resumed in-store collections from May 2021.

The figures in this publication use data collected on or around 12 April 2022.

Our article, Consumer price indices, a brief guide gives an overview of consumer price statistics, while the Consumer Prices Indices Technical Manual covers the concepts and methodologies underpinning the indices in more detail.

Our CPIH Compendium provides a comprehensive source of information on the CPIH, focusing on the approach to measuring owner occupiers' housing costs (OOH).

Our methodology article, Users and uses of consumer price inflation statistics includes information on the users and uses of these statistics, and the characteristics of the different measures of inflation in relation to potential use.

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9. Strengths and limitations

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 currently published, and those under development. We have also published proposed updates in Measuring changing prices and costs for consumers and households, proposed updates: March 2020.

The three cases refer to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) as our lead measure of inflation based on economic principle. They also refer to the Household Costs Indices (HCIs) 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. Our article, Shortcomings of the RPI as a measure of inflation describes the issues with the RPI.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Chris Payne
cpi@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: Consumer price inflation enquiries: +44 1633 456900. Consumer price inflation recorded message (available after 8:00 on release day): +44 800 011 3703